Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death, but colon cancer is typically treatable if detected early. One of the most effective ways to screen for colon cancer is with a colonoscopy, which can detect cancer early and can find small growths or polyps before they become cancerous. It is generally recommended that anyone 50 years of age or older have a screening done. Doctors may recommend an earlier screening if there is a family history of colon cancer.
Many people procrastinate scheduling a colonoscopy because of the preparation involved, even though thorough preparation is necessary to make sure the body is clear for examination. If you do schedule a colonoscopy, you’ll want to arrange to be home leading up to your screening. Your doctor will give you strict instructions on how to prepare for the colonoscopy, but a few days before the procedure, you’ll need to eliminate high fiber foods. Your doctor may even ask that you stop taking any medications. The day before the procedure you will need to follow a clear liquid diet. That means you can only ingest liquids like broth, tea, popsicles, and water. The night before the procedure you will need to drink a prescribed liquid that will clean out your bowels. This will cause loose stools, and if you are uncomfortable, use medicated wipes to help with any discomfort. Finally on the morning of the procedure, you will need to stop taking any liquids two hours before the exam.
When getting a colonoscopy done, plan on the full visit taking three to four hours, though the colonoscopy itself only takes about 30 to 60 minutes. During the procedure, the doctor uses a colonoscope which is a long, thin, and flexible tube with a light and tiny camera at the end of it. The colonoscope is inserted through the rectum and into the large intestine. If anything unusual is detected, like polyps, they will simply be removed during the procedure. Recovery time takes about an hour or so, and you need to plan to have someone drive you home.
In addition to colon cancer, a colonoscopy may be used to find or treat tumors, ulcers, inflamed tissue or cause for bleeding.
If you are considering scheduling a colonoscopy, have your provider contact us to schedule or call us at 970-821-8634 for more information. It is often more affordable and less stressful to have done at our surgery center as opposed to in a hospital setting.