When it comes to colon cancer, the most reliable and preferred way of screening remains the colonoscopy. Here at Gastrointestinal Specialists in Troy, MI, your eight board-certified physicians highly recommend colonoscopies beginning at age 50. Read on to learn more here about colon cancer and how this important test could end up saving your life.
Some details on colon cancer
According to the National Cancer Institute, colon cancer is the third most common cancer among American adults today. Affecting the ascending, transverse, descending, and sigmoid colon (bowel) as well as the rectum, colorectal cancer typically begins with the development of non-cancerous polyps.
These small broccoli-like growths are located in the interior walls of the bowel. While most polyps are benign, some turn out to be pre-cancerous adenomas which eventually evolve into cancer if not removed.
Fortunately, with careful screening tests, early detection rates are high, which means a high cure rate as well. Accordingly, our Troy doctors advise in-office colonoscopies to look for cancers and to evaluate patients with complaints of chronic diarrhea or episodes of bleeding.
How colonoscopies work
The procedure begins with preparation, a process that involves the consumption of laxatives and a clear liquid diet the day before the colonoscopy. Then, day of the test, the patient fasts from all food and drinks after midnight.
The test itself takes about 30 to 40 minutes, during which most patients are given tranquilizers to relax them. Once the patient is properly sedated, the gastroenterologist inserts a thin, flexible tube into the anus and up through the bowels.
The tube causes no discomfort, and as it is equipped with a tiny camera and light, the doctor uses it to closely examine the interior walls of the colon. At this point, any small polyps can also be removed for analysis by biopsy.
Following the procedure, the patient spends some time in a comfortable recovery area. The physician then reviews the test results with the patient, after which an adult relative or friend drives the individual home. Biopsy results are available within a few days.
Find out more
Are you approaching the age of 50, or is it time again for your routine colon cancer screening? If so, please call Gastrointestinal Specialists in Troy, MI, for an appointment. You'll be comfortable and well-cared for in our state of the art facility. Phone (248) 273-9930 today!