Health Advice



New colonoscopy preps make the whole process easier

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

Around 20 years ago, Katie Couric went on TV while she underwent a colonoscopy. In 2019, Will Smith posted a video blog of his first-time experience at age 50. Bravo for them! They encouraged folks to get this lifesaving exam.

Around 16 million colonoscopies are performed in the U.S. annually. That may sound like a lot, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that three out of every 10 adults age 50 to 75 are not up-to-date with colorectal cancer screening, and almost 20% of folks in that age group have never been screened for colorectal cancer. FYI: In 2019, there were 145,000 new cases of colon cancer in the U.S.

So why don't folks get colonoscopies? Many are turned off by the prep process. The good news is there are now options -- from the traditional 1 gallon jug of citrus-flavored liquid to smaller individual bottles of liquid and even prep pills. For the pills, you take a total of 24: 12 the day before (two every 20 minutes with 8 ounces of water) and ditto the day of. All preps have a strict protocol of what you eat/drink leading up to your exam, but many folks find the newer versions more palatable.

The goal of the prep is to make sure the doctor can clearly see any precancerous or cancerous polyps and remove them. So, get your first screening at age 45 if you have no risk factors for colon cancer. Then repeat as recommended, depending on what is found and your risk factors.



Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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