Colonoscopy is a procedure that could save your life! Since colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., it’s been estimated that increased awareness and screening could save at least 30,000 lives each year.
Colonoscopy is used to detect abnormal tissue, ulcers, colon polyps, tumors and any areas of inflammation or bleeding. It is the “gold standard” used for colon cancer screening.
The preparation of your colon (bowel prep) is of utmost importance. The colon must be completely clean for the procedure to be accurate and comprehensive. Small lesions and subtle changes in the colon lining could be missed.
The physician will insert a long, thin, flexible tube into the rectum, after you have received intravenous anesthesia. The colonoscope has its own lens and light source which allows the doctor to view the images on a video monitor.
The entire inside of the colon will be examined. If necessary, tissue samples (biopsies) will be taken and polyps (abnormal growths) can be removed.
Most colorectal cancer begins as a polyp, therefore removing them is a means of cancer prevention.
After the exam, you will be monitored until you are awake and can swallow fluids. Common side effects of the procedure are mild abdominal discomfort, bloating and passing gas.
Your doctor will explain the results of the exam and you will be discharged with written instructions. Someone must drive you home.