Learn Why It Is Essential to Have Colonoscopy Exams
Are you aware that the five-year survival rate for patients with colon or rectal cancer is 90% if the condition is identified and treated early on in its advancement? When used in detecting colorectal cancer and other colorectal disorders, colonoscopy has earned a distinction among gastroenterology professionals as the most effective, reliable exam.
The experienced providers at GI Alliance commonly conduct colonoscopy screenings for patients throughout our community. Continue reading as our digestive health team informs you of the imperative role colonoscopies have in safeguarding digestive health and wellness.
Who is a good candidate for a colonoscopy exam?
Routine colonoscopies are advised for patients aged 45 and older. Even if you are younger, you might also be advised to undergo a cancer screening should one or more of the following criteria apply:
- You have a type of inflammatory bowel disease (such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis)
- You show signs or symptoms that are connected with colon cancer, such as:
- Abdominal pain or discomfort
- Unintentional weight loss
- Blood in the stool
- Your family has a medical history that includes colon polyps or cancer
It's important to recognize that the symptoms outlined here are also representative of other digestive concerns, making it imperative to arrange for a colonoscopy exam to evaluate your GI health and symptoms. Get in touch with GI Alliance to hear more information surrounding other health issues that could be detected with a colonoscopy procedure.
How long should I expect my colonoscopy to take?
For most individuals, the whole colonoscopy procedure often lasts a couple of hours, from preparation to recovery. You will need to arrive at your colonoscopy doctor's facility or endoscopy center 1 – 1.5 hours prior to your scheduled colonoscopy. Doing so will allow you extra time to complete any necessary forms and put on a medical gown. When you are ready, you'll be escorted to the procedure room, where the medical team will begin administering a sedative to keep you relaxed and at ease throughout your colonoscopy exam.
In most cases, a colonoscopy exam is completed in 15 – 30 minutes. Your physician will gently insert the colonoscope (a flexible, probe-mounted video camera) into the rectum, gradually advancing it into the colon and reviewing the video feed for signs of concern. If colorectal polyps (growths) are detected during the screening, your GI doctor may go ahead and remove them at this time.
When the procedure is complete, you will be given time to relax in a recovery room to allow the sedative effects to wear off. This could take up to 60 minutes or so, depending on the amount of sedation required and how your body reacts to it. You could feel groggy for the remainder of the day, so plan ahead to have someone drive you home. It's also important to avoid strenuous activity or signing any important papers as you recover. You will be provided with a report detailing your screening results and can expect to hear from your gastroenterologist with any biopsy results generally within a week.
Colonoscopy screenings really are a marginal investment in time for the diagnostic benefits and peace of mind they carry. For more information on what you can expect when having a colonoscopy procedure, get in touch with a GI Alliance location nearest you to connect with a board-certified doctor who performs colonoscopies.
Does a colonoscopy carry any risks I should know about?
There is a minor chance that some indications or issues (including growths) might not be readily apparent during your colonoscopy results. It's crucial to reach out to your GI doctor and inform them of any new or ongoing issues.
Other potential risks of a colonoscopy exam involve puncturing of the colon, unfavorable response to the sedation, or internal bleeding (in the event any polyps are extracted). It's important to keep in mind, however, that fewer than 1% of colonoscopies incur complications, most of which are minor. Should you have concerns or questions regarding the risks involved with a colonoscopy, our team at GI Alliance will be glad to go over those with you.
Connect with an experienced colonoscopy doctor
Given that colon and rectal cancer rates are trending upward among younger adults, the value of receiving a colonoscopy to preserve your digestive health cannot be overstressed. If you are at least 45 years old or have a heightened risk of colon or rectal cancer, get in touch with the gastrointestinal specialists at GI Alliance to learn more about a colonoscopy screening. Take charge of your health and get in touch with our team today.