Colonoscopy: A Test That Saves Lives
Colon cancer is the 3rd most common cancer in the U.S.
What is a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is routine procedure that looks for polyps or other conditions that may be affecting your digestive tract.
You are put under sedation for the procedure so a doctor can pass a thin fiber optic camera through the colon to help see polyps or other conditions that can affect the colon. If polyps are found, they are usually removed during the procedure. A colonoscopy is the preferred method to identify pre-cancerous polyps and remove them to prevent colon cancer.
What can I expect during my colonoscopy?
It is important to clean the colon prior to the procedure to ensure pre-cancerous polyps can be found and removed safely. Your doctor will prescribe a “prep” to take before the exam. We will provide clear instructions on what to do. The “prep” usually takes place the day before your colonoscopy appointment.
During the procedure, sedation will be used to keep you comfortable and safe. The scope itself usually only takes 20 minutes, but we ask that you plan to be in our unit for a total of two hours – this will include both the pre and post-procedure monitoring.
Although the sedation medications only last for a short period of time, we ask that you have a driver present for the day of the procedure. Light activities can be resumed after the procedure and you can expect to be back to normal activities the following day.
Why is a screening colonoscopy important?
Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States. Colon cancer is one of the most “curable” cancers if found early. We believe that most colon cancers start off as small overgrowths of tissue on the inside of the colon called polyps. Polyps themselves are very common and many people will have polyps in their lifetime. While there are various ways to screen for polyps, a colonoscopy has the highest detection rate and is the only way we can remove these polyps to prevent them from becoming cancerous.
Colon polyps and early colon cancer usually do not have symptoms. Since these are “silent” conditions, we recommend screening to look for these lesions before they can cause consequences to your health. Removing polyps prevents cancer, and colon cancer can be curable if found in the early stages.