Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer in both men and women, which is why the CDC and American Cancer Society recommend regular screening beginning at age 50. A colonoscopy is one of the most common methods that doctors use to examine the large intestine for abnormalities, but it isn’t uncommon for patients to have several questions about their first screening. This guide to colonoscopy may help with common questions about this routine procedure:
What Is Colonoscopy Used For?
Colonoscopy is used to diagnose the cause of intestinal bleeding, detect abnormal tissue, and treat colon polyps. Although most colon polyps are benign, untreated malignant tumors can spread to other parts of the body and prove potentially life-threatening. A doctor can remove polyps and treat light bleeding during a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy is recommended every 10 years.
How Is It Performed?
Doctors use a device called a colonoscope—a flexible, tube-like camera with a lighted tip—to examine the large intestine through the anus. Patients are often given instructions regarding dietary restrictions, cleansing routines, and possibly the use of laxatives several days prior to the procedure in order to completely clean out the colon and provide the doctor with unobstructed vision. Air is injected through the colonoscope during the procedure, and it is then used to inspect the entire large intestine.
What Are The Risks?
Although there is rarely pain during the procedure, patients may feel pressure, bloating, or cramps. Pain medication or sedatives may be administered to assist in relaxation. Although there is a small risk of perforation or bleeding in the bowel, complications are very rare. It is important to inform your doctor about any medicines you are taking, including anti-inflammatory drugs, blood thinners, and vitamins.
Menorah Medical Center has been helping residents of Kansas City and the surrounding areas maintain their long-term health through preventative screening procedures, compassionate care, and advanced medical treatment. To schedule a screening, contact our Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line at (913) 498-6000 today.