What Is a Colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a procedure that enables us to evaluate the inside of the colon (also known as the large intestine or large bowel). A colonoscope is a four-foot-long, flexible tube about the thickness of a finger with a camera and a source of light at its tip. A colonoscopy is most often performed to find and prevent tumors or polyps (precancerous growths) that can develop into colon cancer. It is a preventative technique that can be extremely effective in preventing, diagnosing and treating colon cancer. A colonoscopy can be used to examine the cause of blood in the stool, abdominal pain, diarrhea, a change in bowel habits or other abnormality.
A colonoscopy can help with the diagnosis and treatment of colon caners and other diseases. Symptoms that should trigger this procedure include:
- Blood in the stool (bright red, black or very dark)
- Change in bowel habits
- Narrowed stools
- Unexplained anemia
- Rectal bleeding
- Unintentional weight loss
- Continuing fatigue
These symptoms are a few guidelines, and sometimes none of these symptoms are present in the early stages of colon cancer.
What Do We Recommend?
We recommend patients receive a colonoscopy at the age of 50 and then again every 10 years following to help prevent colon cancer. However, anyone with a family history of colon cancer should also start the screenings at age 45. Colonoscopy is both diagnostic and therapeutic. It can effectively prevent colon cancer, which is the second most common cancer in the United States and is very treatable if found early, which is why getting screened is very important.
The colonoscopies Effingham Ambulatory Surgery Center provides can be life-saving, and we pride ourselves on creating a stress-free experience for our patients during this procedure. For more information about our colonoscopy procedures reach out to us today!