The Importance of a Colonscopy

The importance of a colonoscipy

The most effective prevention of colorectal cancer is a screening colonoscopy.

Colon Cancer Essentials

Colon Cancer Facts

Colorectal cancer is the number two leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States.

Most colorectal cancers begin in a polyp, and it is estimated that it takes about 10 years for a polyp to turn into a cancer. The most effective prevention is a screening colonoscopy and clearing of the colon for polyps. This can reduce your chances of colorectal cancer by up to 90%.  

Talk to your doctor about being screened for colorectal cancer if you: 

• Are age 50 or older
• Have a family history of colorectal cancer
• Have a personal history of colorectal cancer, polyps, ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
• Experience symptoms such as  diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain or a change in bowel habits 

A colonoscopy can find and remove polyps before they become cancer. Talk to your doctor to ask for the test. It could save your life!  

What is a colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy is a procedure that enables your surgeon to examine the lining of your colon, or large bowel. A narrow flexible tube with a tiny light and camera at the end is gently inserted and advanced through the colon. Your surgeon may also remove polyps, take a biopsy, or cauterize a bleeding vessel if indicated. 

You will be sedated during the procedure, ensuring that you have little to no discomfort. Most people sleep through the entire procedure. 

Colonoscopy is the gold standard test for colon polyps and prevention of colon cancer. It is the only test that will remove polyps at the time of the procedure.

Bowel Preparation:

The colon must be completely emptied of stool for the procedure to be performed. You will be given instructions regarding the cleansing routine to be used. If you do not get instructions, are unable to take the preparation, or do not feel that your preparation has worked properly, please call your surgeon. If the bowel is not cleansed of solid stool, your procedure may have to be cancelled or rescheduled. 

The bowel prep is extremely important to get the best results possible. If your surgeon cannot see the lining of the colon well, a polyp or lesion may be missed, putting you at increased risk for colon cancer. The most effective bowel prep is a “split prep.” This means that you take part of the prep on the evening prior to your procedure, and another portion on the day of your procedure.

Colorectal Cancer:

Colon and rectal cancers are the second leading cause of death from cancer, with a lifetime risk of 5.4% or 1 in 19 persons. Most colorectal cancers begin in a polyp, and it is estimated that it takes about 10 years for a polyp to eventually turn into a cancer. 

Prevention and Cure 

The most effective prevention is a screening colonoscopy, and clearing the colon of polyps. This can reduce your chances of colorectal cancer by up to 90%. Polyps are found in about 20% of colonoscopies, or 1 in 5 procedures performed. 

Cure of colon cancer is achieved only by surgery. Cure rates are much higher with small early cancers. These early cancers often cause no symptoms, and are found only with screening, such as colonoscopy. Any concerning symptoms that develop should be evaluated with a colonoscopy. 

Other things that can prevent colorectal cancer include: 
• High fiber, low fat diet 
• Maintain a healthy weight 
• Regular exercise 
• Refrain from smoking

Other Helpful Resources: 

• Colonoscopy patient education brochure
• Colorectal cancer signs and symptoms 
• Colorectal cancer prevention

Contact Us

Surgical Associates
250 26th Street, Suite 210
Prairie du Sac, WI  53578