Many medical professionals recommend that patients over the age of 50, or for those with a family history of colon cancer, be screened for colorectal cancer. The value of screening for colorectal cancer is that if there is a pre-cancerous lesion – a polyp – it can be identified and removed, as opposed to other cancers where screening simply looks for early-stage development. Thus, colonoscopy is the single best screening procedure for colorectal cancer, as polyps can be identified and completely removed.
Using a colonoscopy, a doctor can identify diseases of the colon (ulcer, tumor, inflammation, diverticulum, and other abnormalities) based on complaints (stool disorder, abdominal pain, bleeding). If necessary, the doctor can perform histological sampling of the area considered abnormal (biopsy) or conduct certain therapeutic measures – sometimes as a substitute for surgery – with devices introduced through the working canal of the colonoscope (such as suppression of bleeding, foreign body removal, polyp removal, etc.).