3 Colon Cancer Testing Questions Answered
What do you need to know about colon cancer testing? Whether you're already 45, you have a family history of the disease, or your doctor recommends a symptoms-based screening, take a look at everything you need to know about this common procedure.
Do Most Adults Get This Type of Screening?
Seven out of every 10 American adults between the ages of 50 and 75 are considered up-to-date on this healthcare screening test, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Even though a doctor may recommend a colonoscopy to investigate symptoms, they also use this screening to look for polyps or other abnormalities in otherwise healthy adults. This makes the procedure a valuable preventative screening tool that can help to detect colon cancer early on.
Is the Prep Uncomfortable?
Colonoscopy prep is the step that many patients have serious questions about. You may have heard that the prep is almost intolerable or uncomfortable. While the preparation for a colon cancer screening isn't something that you'll want to do, it's a necessary step.
The colonoscopy prep clears your colon and makes it easy for the doctor to see the interior spaces. This makes it possible to visualize polyps or other irregularities inside of your intestines. Failure to complete the prep step correctly could result in the need for a repeat procedure. Stool that's left behind in the colon will interfere with the screening and leave the doctor unable to provide accurate results.
There are a few different types of colonoscopy prep that doctors routinely prescribe. All involve a type of laxative that empties the intestines. Follow your doctor's instructions exactly to maximize the prep step results. You may need to start this process the day or night before your screening test.
Is the Procedure Uncomfortable?
A colonoscopy is an invasive procedure. The doctor will insert a long, thin scope (with a camera and light at the end) into your rectum and thread it through your colon. The camera will send a picture to a screen in the procedure room. This image allows the doctor to guide the scope and see the inside of your intestines.
Even though a medical tool winding through your colon may sound uncomfortable, it's not likely that you will feel pain or discomfort during the procedure. Most colonoscopies include the use of sedation. This allows you to rest comfortably during the procedure. After the anesthesiologist administers the sedation, you won't feel anything until you wake up.
For more information, contact a local clinic, like Gastro Health.