March 25, 2021 3:34 pm
Many people have fears about getting a colonoscopy. The truth, however, is that a colonoscopy is a necessary health check that could end up saving your life. Colorectal cancer, the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths, kills 50,000 people in the United States every year. Thanks to the colonoscopy, colon and rectal cancers are preventable and treatable forms of cancer when discovered early.
What Is a Colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a screening test for colorectal cancer. During this test, doctors insert a flexible tube fitted with a tiny camera into your rectum. As it’s directed through the colon, the camera allows the doctor to see any tumors, polyps or other areas of concern.
Who Should Get a Colonoscopy?
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that every adult between ages 50 and 75 be screened for colorectal cancer regularly (although the American Cancer Society recommends beginning at age 45). While other screening tests are available, such as stool tests and CT colonography, doctors recommend getting a colonoscopy every 10 years. A colonoscopy can detect precancerous polyps, which can then be removed before they become a threat to your health.
What Is the Prep Like?
The colon must be completely clean before the procedure can be done. Usually, this means you must drink liquid that cleans your bowel by causing diarrhea the day before your colonoscopy. Your doctor may also require that you eliminate any high fiber foods, such as nuts and raw fruits and vegetables, several days before the procedure. The day before your colonoscopy, you can only eat clear liquids, such as clear broths, juices and soft drinks, as well as certain popsicles and Jell-O.
What Is the Procedure Like?
You are sedated, and some patients are given additional medication for pain before the colonoscopy. You likely won’t feel or remember much, although you might feel slightly uncomfortable after the colonoscopy is completed. The entire procedure takes less than an hour, and you will generally be in recovery for about an hour as the sedation wears off.
Is It Embarrassing to Get a Colonoscopy?
Colonoscopy teams do these procedures all the time. They are professionals, and they understand that the nature of the procedure may make it embarrassing for some. As a result, they are respectful and allow you to be as modest as possible during the procedure. Remember: these providers understand the role a colonoscopy plays in cancer prevention and detection, so they want to do everything they can to make it as easy and comfortable as possible for you.
The providers at Magnolia Regional Health Center are available to answer any questions you might have about colorectal cancer screening. Contact your primary care provider for more information and to schedule your colonoscopy.
This post was written by Magnolia Regional Health Center