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The truth about Colonoscopy

A team of surgeons perform a surgery
A team of surgeons perform a surgery
Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Have you been putting off that colonoscopy because of fear? Isn't it way past due for one? Let me attempt to try and shed a little light on this much needed and necessary procedure.

The AMA recommends screening for early detection about age 50 for both men and women.

A colonoscopy is the screening and examination of the large bowel and the small bowel with a camera and a tube passed through the anus. I know it sounds painful but the potential patient is sedated and put to sleep in a hospital setting. The procedure takes only about 30 to 60 minutes (including sedation). Any polyps that are present are removed at that time. Polyps have the potential to be or can become cancerous. Once the polyps are moved then studied under a microscope to determine if they are cancerous or precancerous.

The preparation is more involved that the actual procedure. To prepare for the test, your doctor will prescribe dietary modifications. You may be asked to limit or eliminate solid foods for a few days before the colonoscopy. You will also be asked to take laxatives by mouth to clean out the colon. Now a days, the laxatives are much easier to endure than perhaps some years ago. As with anything that is done in life, there are also risks but they are rare.

The possibility of having colon cancer far out ways the preparations and procedure. Do not allow fear to keep you from this much needed screening any longer.


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