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Colonoscopy Information from the American Cancer Society
Understanding Colonoscopy from the ASGE
A Colonoscopy is a procedure in which the large bowel (colon) and rectum is examined. This exam is an effective tool to screen for colon cancer and diagnose other gastrointestinal diseases. Air is inserted through the rectum, inflating the colon, for adequate visualization. A long scope with a camera on the end is then passed through the rectum and colon. During the procedure, it is common to find polyps, which are removed and further biopsied by a pathologist. Routine screenings are recommended every 10 years, beginning at the age of 50. It is helpful in diagnosing and treating chronic constipation disorders, inflammatory bowel disease and screening for cancer of the colon and removal of polyps.
The procedure lets your doctor see things such as inflamed tissue, abnormal growths, and ulcers.
Your doctor may recommend a colonoscopy or upper endoscopy:
- To look for early signs of cancer in the colon and rectum. It may be part of a routine screening, which usually starts at age 50.
- To look for causes of unexplained changes in bowel habits
- To evaluate symptoms like abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, and weight loss
Your doctor can also remove polyps from your colon during a colonoscopy.
You need to be on a clear liquid diet for 1 to 3 days before the colonoscopy. During the procedure, you receive medicines to keep you relaxed.
NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
- Expert groups recommend that people at average risk for colorectal cancer start regular screening at age 50.
- Current colorectal cancer screening tests check for blood in stool (high-sensitivity fecal occult blood tests) or use an instrument to look at the lining of the colon and rectum (sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy).
- People should talk with their health care provider about when to begin screening for colorectal cancer, what test(s) to have, the advantages and disadvantages (including potential harms) of each test, and how often to undergo screening.
- New methods of screening for colorectal cancer, such as virtual colonoscopy and tests that analyze human DNA in stool or blood samples for certain changes, are under study.
For more information about a Colonoscopy
Call: Robert Schiffer, MD at 1(949) 631-3001 today!