One of the most effective tools for protecting against or detecting colorectal cancer as early as possible is undergoing periodic colon and rectal screenings. Unfortunately, around half of adults who are eligible have not completed their first colonoscopy screening. Per the American Cancer Society (ACS), those with an average risk of developing colon or rectal cancer should begin having regular screenings at age 45.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that millions of individuals around the United States are not having their colon and rectal cancer recommended screening tests, decreasing the opportunity for detecting the condition early. To learn if you qualify for an initial colonoscopy, contact a GI Alliance location near you and reserve a consultation with a board-certified gastroenterologist.
What should I know about having a colonoscopy procedure?
A colonoscopy is a type of colorectal cancer screening that involves a narrow, flexible instrument fitted with a small camera. It is placed through the rectum and into the colon by a GI Alliance physician to screen for polyps or other abnormalities that may have developed. If anything abnormal is found, it can be removed via the scope and tested for cancer. Patients are provided a safe and fast-acting sedation medication ahead of the colonoscopy that will enable them to undergo the procedure comfortably.
What can I expect after a colonoscopy screening?
When your initial colonoscopy screening is over and the sedation begins to dissipate, our gastrointestinal experts will go over any findings or the need for additional testing with you. If we do find anything that warrants a more in-depth evaluation, your GI specialist will develop a treatment strategy personalized for your healthcare needs. We strongly suggest that you have a friend or relative drive you home after your screening. Once the impacts of the sedative have subsided, you should be able to return to your daily activities and normal diet within 24 hours. Some people experience a few mild aftereffects for a few days, like abdominal cramps, bloating, and gassiness. Should you have extreme pain, bleeding, or fever, please seek immediate medical care.
How often should I have colonoscopy exams?
Medical experts recommend that individuals with an average chance for colorectal cancer start to receive screenings at 45 years of age. Subsequent colonoscopy screenings should be conducted at ten-year intervals through 75 years of age. Following age 75, every individual should talk with their GI specialist regarding screening options that best meet their unique needs.
Why should people get regular colorectal screenings?
While a colonoscopy screening can allow for the discovery of early colorectal cancer, the evaluation can also detect potential causes for additional gastric health concerns, including chronic changes in bowel habits (constipation and/or diarrhea), causes of anorectal/abdominal pain, anemia and bleeding, hemorrhoids, and sudden unexplained weight reduction. The highly trained digestive health specialists at GI Alliance perform advanced, innovative techniques and procedures to detect and treat a wide variety of digestive diseases.
How can I schedule a colonoscopy?
Routine colorectal cancer screenings are the best process for discovering this serious GI concern. If you are 45 years of age or older and carry an average risk of colorectal cancer, we advise that you schedule your initial colonoscopy screening at a GI Alliance office near you soon. For a consultation with one of our digestive health specialists, reach out to our team today.