Colorectal cancer is a disease where the cells that line the colon or rectum grow out of control. The rectum is the passage that connects the colon to the anus. Colorectal cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in America. It affects both men and women of all racial and ethnic groups and is frequently found in people aged 45 and older. Screenings can find precancerous polyps, abnormal growths that can be removed before they become cancer.
A colonoscopy is an outpatient medical procedure that helps diagnose and treat conditions of the large intestine (colon) and rectum. It involves an examination of the lining of these organs using a thin, flexible tube called a colonoscope, which is inserted into the rectum. The procedure allows doctors to detect any abnormalities or changes in the structure of the organs, as well as diagnose any problems such as polyps, cancer, infection, or inflammation.
Your Gastroenterology Associate of Brooklyn clinician may recommend a screening colonoscopy if you are 45 or older, or have a family history of colon cancer, to look for early signs of colon and rectal cancer. They may also recommend a colonoscopy to find causes of unexplained changes in your bowel habits or to evaluate symptoms such as abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, and unexplained weight loss.
If you have been recommended for a colonoscopy, your doctor will provide you with more detailed information about the procedure and discuss any risks or concerns that may arise. With careful preparation, a colonoscopy is a safe and effective way to detect any problems in the large intestine and rectum. By taking the recommended steps before and after the procedure, you can help ensure that your colonoscopy is successful and reduce any potential risks or side effects.
You will be given IV medication to help you relax and feel no discomfort. The procedure will begin with the doctor inserting a long flexible tube (colonoscope) into your rectum and slowly guide it through the large intestine. The instrument is equipped with a light source and a camera
to help the doctor take pictures of the inside of the body for study. The doctor may also use other tools to take samples of tissue (biopsy) or remove small growths known as polyps. A colonoscopy usually takes between 12 and 15 minutes to complete.
After the procedure, you will be able to go home but because of the anesthesia you should arrange for someone to drive you there and pick you up after the procedure. It is important to wait for at least an hour before doing any strenuous activity.
Your doctor will discuss with you the results of the procedure and whether any further tests or treatments are necessary. Depending on the findings, your doctor may recommend more frequent colonoscopies in order to monitor for changes.
The primary benefit of a colonoscopy is the ability to detect any abnormalities or changes in the large intestine and rectum. This can help doctors diagnose problems such as cancer, infection, or inflammation in their early stages, before they become more serious. This is essential for people who have an inherited form of colon cancer that can begin to develop with benign polyps as early as the teen years.
Regular colonoscopies can also help identify and remove any polyps present in the colon, which may be benign or cancerous. This can reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer in the future.
Colonoscopies are also an effective way to screen for any signs or symptoms of colon cancer, so they are often recommended as part of regular health checkups. The procedure is generally safe and carries few risks, so it can be a good tool to help maintain good health.
If you or a loved one is 45 or older, or are any age and you have a family history of polyps and/or colorectal cancer or when you or your loved one has troubling symptoms it is important to have a screening colonoscopy. Contact Gastroenterology Associates of Brooklyn to schedule a consultation to learn more about colon cancer and colonoscopy.