Once you’ve reached age 50, your risk of colon cancer climbs, even if you have no other contributing factors. The doctors of Angelina Surgical Associates in Lufkin, Texas are experienced colorectal practitioners and perform colonoscopies as a diagnostic tool for cancer and other problems with your lower digestive system. If it’s time for you to start screening, call the office today.
An examination that checks for abnormalities in your large intestine, or colon, and rectum, a long flexible tube called a colonoscope is inserted into the rectum. The tip of the colonoscope has a small video camera that permits viewing of the inner walls of the colon. As well as being a visual aid for spotting polyps and other abnormalities, tools in the colonoscope can remove polyps or other tissue for biopsies.
Colonoscopy is one method of screening for colon cancer. If you’ve had other problems with the large intestine, such as pain, chronic constipation, chronic diarrhea, or bleeding from your rectum, the colonoscope may also aid in diagnosing the cause of your condition.
Colonoscopies for cancer screening are recommended every 10 years or more frequently if you’ve had polyps previously or other risk factors for colon cancer.
Yes. There are some risks associated with colonoscopies, such as bleeding or tearing of the colon wall, but these occurrences are extremely rare. A reaction to sedatives given during the exam is also a rare complication.
It’s crucial for an effective exam that your colon be emptied. Typically, you’ll follow a clear liquid diet the day prior to your procedure, containing no solids or opaque liquids such as milk or cream. You’ll even stop the intake of liquids at midnight prior to the exam. You may also be required to use laxatives to further clear your colon. Enema kits may also be suggested in some cases.
Discuss with your Angelina Surgical Associates caregiver any medications you’re taking, because he or she may adjust or stop your medications around your colonoscopy.
During the procedure itself, air may be pumped into your colon to permit clearer viewing. This could cause cramping or the sensation of a pending bowel movement. If any polyps are encountered, these may be removed during the exam. Similarly, tissue samples from any abnormal sections of your colon may also be taken for lab analysis.
After the test, you’ll need to arrange a ride home if you were sedated during the procedure. You may feel gassy and bloated for a few hours after the procedure, and mild bleeding showing with your first bowel movement is normal.