Colorectal cancer affects nearly 150,000 new patients a year. However, this common and life-threatening disease is highly preventable. A colonoscopy can detect colorectal cancer long before symptoms present themselves. This makes this procedure incredibly important, especially for people who are over the age of 50. Get more information on colonoscopies with help from your Troy, MI doctors at Gastrointestinal Specialists.
What is a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a medical procedure which allows doctors to visually see the lining of the rectum and colon. The procedure is performed using a colonoscope, a long, thin tube with a camera attached to the end. Doctors use colonoscopy procedures as a preventative measure for cancer as it can detect the presence of precancerous growths called polyps. A colonoscopy can also investigate the warning signs of gastrointestinal issues.
When is a colonoscopy recommended?
It is recommended that men and women over age 50 who are at average risk for developing cancer undergo a colonoscopy test at least every 10 years. This allows doctors to find and remove precancerous polyps, which could prevent colorectal cancer altogether. At-risk patients might need a colonoscopy more often. Symptoms of gastrointestinal irritation like rectal bleeding, sudden or unexplained weight loss, chronic diarrhea, constipation or irregular stools often require a colonoscopy to allow your doctor to find the root cause of the problem. Additionally, treatment for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and investigation into the cause of an abnormal MRI or CT scan also call for a colonoscopy.
What can I expect during a colonoscopy procedure?
Before a colonoscopy, your doctor will require you to perform a colon cleanse which consists of drinking a special solution and maintaining a clear liquid diet. This lasts one to two days and empties the colon for the test. The day of your test, your doctor will give you a sedation medication to help you relax. You may fall asleep during the procedure. Your doctor inserts the colonoscope into the anus and moves it through the rectum and colon. Air is used to inflate the colon so your doctor can see its lining properly. If necessary, tiny tools threaded through the colonoscope help your doctor biopsy the tissue or remove polyps. After the test, you will recover for about an hour. Due to the medications, someone will need to drive you home after the procedure. You may then return to your normal diet.
For more information on gastrointestinal issues or colonoscopies, please contact your doctor at Gastrointestinal Specialists in Troy, MI. Call (248) 273-9930 to speak with an associate about scheduling your appointment for a colonoscopy today!