Colonoscopy is a procedure that enables an examiner (usually a gastroenterologist) to evaluate the inside of the colon (large intestine or large bowel). Colonoscopy may be done for a variety of reasons. Most often it is done to investigate the cause of blood in the stool, abdominal pain, diarrhea, a change in bowel habit, or an abnormality found on colonic X-rays or a computerized tomographic (CT) scan. Individuals with previous history of polyps or colon cancer and certain individuals with a family history of some types of non-colonic cancers or colonic problems that may be associated with colon cancer (such as ulcerative colitis and colonic polyps) may be advised to have periodic colonoscopies because their risks are greater for polyps or colon cancer.
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