Once you reach a certain age, your doctor will most likely recommend a colonoscopy. This test is not only important for diagnosing colon cancer, but it is also an essential element in the efficient and effective treatment of cancer and other disorders related to your colon, rectum and digestive system. Here are a few benefits of colonoscopies that you need to know about.
Early Detection of Colorectal Cancers
One in every 20 Americans will develop colon cancer. Since it is one of the most aggressive forms of cancer, detecting colon cancer early is imperative, as fast treatment can save lives.
Colonoscopies are the most effective option for early detection because these tests are capable of picking up small traces of cancer that can quickly spread and become life-threatening.
If the test shows cancer is present, further diagnostics will be ordered. Blood samples will be taken, in addition to biopsies of the colon and surrounding tissue. Once cancer is confirmed, aggressive treatment can begin.
Detection and Removal of Polyps
In most cases, the development of colon cancer begins with a polyp. These small collections of cells form on the lining of the colon. They can vary in shape and size. They are usually benign and harmless, but some will grow, becoming cancerous and very dangerous.
You will not know you have polyps present in your colon because polyps do not cause any pain or inflammation. Also because they cannot be self-diagnosed, polyps must be seen through a scope inserted into the colon.
A colonoscopy is not only capable of detecting polyps, but those that look suspicious can also be removed during the actual testing procedure. This not only reduces your risk of developing a form of colorectal cancer, but it also decreases the need for further tests and surgeries to remove cancerous polyps.
Detection of Diverticulitis
Over time, food and bacteria can build up inside the pockets of your intestines, leading to painful inflammation and infections. Known as diverticulitis, the pain and infections may require intense antibiotics and even the removal of a portion of your intestines if the infections are not treated.
Diverticulitis causes the following symptoms:
- Abdominal Pain
Colonoscopies are able to detect swelling and infected tissue that stems from diverticulitis. Once detected, a series of antibiotics are administered, reducing the risk of further complications.
Colonoscopies are not designed to be pleasant experiences, but they are important tests for your health and wellness and with good sedation are generally very comfortable.