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Colonoscopy

Colon Cancer Screening

Colon cancer is ranked number two for cancer deaths in the United States. If diagnosed early, colon cancer can be treated and sometimes cured.

Colonoscopy

One of the easiest ways to detect colon cancer is to have a colonoscopy performed at least every ten years, starting at age 50. Many individuals choose to ignore getting screened for colon cancer because the procedure is invasive. However, when taken into perspective, a colonoscopy takes much less of a toll on the mind and body as cancer does.

You will be given exact instructions by the doctor who will be performing your colonoscopy on how you should prepare for the procedure. Preparation for a colonoscopy will generally include a thorough cleansing of the bowels and refraining from food. You may also be asked to not take blood thinning medication. You will also need to make arrangements to have someone drive you home after the procedure, as you will be groggy and deemed unsafe to drive.

Prior to the colonoscopy, you will be given a pain reliever and a sedative. A scope will then be inserted into the anus and it will travel delicately through the entire length of the colon. A small camera is attached to the tube. The camera allows the doctor a view of your colon. If needed, pictures can be taken. If a tissue sample is deemed necessary, the doctor will use tiny biopsy forceps. These forceps are inserted through the scope to acquire the needed tissue sample.

Before the colonoscopy, you will be given a sedative. Sedation usually wears off within two to three hours. You may experience gas or cramping after the examination.

If you are having any of the following symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor, as you may need to have a colonoscopy.

  • Profound change in bathroom habits, especially constipation
  • Very thin stools
  • Stomach cramping and bloating.
  • Blood in stools
  • Weight loss
  • Very gassy
  • Vomiting

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