Colonoscopy is an important medical examination that is used to detect any changes in the large intestine and rectum. It is performed by introducing a long, flexible tube (colonoscope) into the rectum. The camera at the end of the tube allows the doctor to view the entire colon and can also be used to take tissue samples (biopsies).
Colonoscopy is important for detecting polyps or other types of abnormal tissue, which can be present in the colon and rectum. It can also help detect the presence of cancerous or precancerous cells. The procedure is usually performed in a hospital or clinic and takes about 20 – 30 minutes.
Before the procedure, you will be given medications to relax you. During the procedure, you may experience slight cramping or pressure in the abdomen. Your doctor will inject air into the colon to help them get a better view of the inside of the colon. They will also use a lighted scope to inspect the inside of the colon.
The doctor may take biopsies during the procedure if they find any abnormalities. After the procedure, you may experience some bloating or cramping. You may also have some minor bleeding, but this usually goes away within a day or two.
It is important to know that a colonoscopy is an accurate test to detect the presence of colorectal cancer. The results of the exam will be discussed with you, and it may be necessary to follow up with other tests to confirm the diagnosis.
If you are having any symptoms that could indicate colon cancer, such as rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, constipation, or diarrhea, then it is important to discuss this with your doctor. They may recommend a colonoscopy to check for any abnormalities.
If you are having a colonoscopy, it is important to tell your doctor about any medications you are taking. Certain medications can interfere with the procedure, so it is important to be open and honest with your doctor.
Colonoscopy is an important medical examination that can help detect any changes in the large intestine and rectum, as well as detecting polyps or cancerous cells. It is important to discuss any concerns with your doctor, and to follow their instructions before and after the procedure.
Guidelines for Colorectal Cancer Screening
Colonoscopy screening is one of the most important tests for detecting colorectal cancer, yet many people are unaware of the guidelines and timelines for screening. The American Cancer Society recommends that people at average risk begin colorectal cancer screening (typically colonoscopies) at age 45 and continue until age 75.
After the initial colonoscopy screening, the endoscopist will decide when the next colonoscopy should be based on the findings of the most recent colonoscopy and the family history. However, the timeline for screening may vary depending on the individual’s risk factors for colorectal cancer.
Risk factors include age, ethnicity, lifestyle, family history and genetics, and personal history of certain health conditions. It is important to discuss these factors with your primary care provider to assess your risk and plan screenings accordingly.
For people at higher risk due to certain health conditions or a family history of colorectal cancer, the American Cancer Society recommends that they start screening at a younger age than those at average risk.
Depending on the risk factors, some individuals may require screenings as early as age 20, while others may need to start at age 40 or 45. It is important to note that colorectal cancer screening is no longer necessary for people 85 and older.
However, individuals in this age group should still consult with their primary care provider to determine if any other screenings or tests may be needed. Colonoscopies are an invaluable tool for detecting colorectal cancer early and reducing deaths from this disease.
It is important to be aware of the guidelines and timelines for screening to ensure that you are doing all you can to stay healthy and prevent colorectal cancer.