A colonoscopy allows the physician to examine the lining of the rectum and the large intestine (colon) to locate any abnormalities. A flexible, fiberoptic tube (colonoscope) is passed through the rectum into the lower intestinal tract.
While a patient is lying on the left side, the lubricated colonoscope will be carefully advanced through the colon. A biopsy specimen may be taken for microscopic examination. If a polyp (growth which develops in the colon) is identified, it may be removed by electrocautery through the colonoscope or clipped through the colonoscope. Clipped specimens are sent to the lab for microscopic examination. No discomfort is felt if polyps are removed or if biopsies are taken.
Many people do not recall any of the procedure because of the effects of sedation during the procedure.
Colorectal cancer is cancer that occurs in the colon or rectum. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States, but it doesn’t have to be. If everyone age 50 or older had regular screening tests, at least one-third of deaths from this cancer could be avoided.
Who Gets Colorectal Cancer?
- Both men and women.
- Most commonly in people age 50 or older.
- The risk of getting colorectal cancer increases with age.
Screening Saves Lives!
- Colorectal cancer usually starts from polyps in the colon or rectum.
- Over time, some polyps may become cancerous.
- Screening tests can find polyps, so they can be removed before they become cancerous.
- When colorectal cancer is detected early, the chance of being cured is good!
What are the Symptoms?
- Some people do not experience symptoms.
- Blood in or on your stool.
- Frequent, unexplained pain, aches or cramps in your stomach.
- A change in bowel habits, such as stools that are narrower than usual.
- Unexplained weight loss.