Colon Cancer Screening in Rochester
The best test currently to screen for colorectal cancer is colonoscopy. It is usually recommended starting at age 50 and repeated every 10 years. If someone has an increased risk for the disease, or has had previous treatment for colon polyps or colorectal cancer, the test may be done more often.
What to Expect
- Preparation. An accurate colonoscopy requires a clean colon and rectum. Preparation begins the day before your scheduled procedure. You will take a physician-prescribed colon-cleansing agent and your diet will be restricted. The strong laxative helps clear out any food in the lower digestive tract.
- The colonoscopy is performed on an outpatient basis and generally takes less than 30 minutes to complete.
- Just before undergoing the colonoscopy, you will most likely receive a sedating agent to help you relax and to minimize any potential discomfort.
- During the colonoscopy exam, the physician explores the full length of the colon to detect and remove pre-cancerous polyps and identify cancerous growths. While you are lying on your side, your physician will gently insert a narrow colonscope into the rectum and slowly up through the entire colon. Using the colonscope, your physician can view the inside lining of the rectum and colon on a TV monitor.
It is entirely your choice to receive sedation or not, and in fact it is a line item on the consent form for colonoscopies. Using sedatives is the standard as many people don’t like the idea of a sedation-free colonoscopy, especially for their first time. However, many studies show that people who have had sedation-free colonoscopies actually prefer it. According to a survey conducted by the Wall Street Journal, 89% of people who received a sedation-free colonoscopy experienced little to no pain and an overwhelming amount would do it again. Pain is very minimal, and those individuals think the minor discomfort experienced during the exam (that quickly goes away) outweighs the side effects of sedatives.
There really isn’t a benefit to doing one method over the other, and it is based on patient preference. Both options are available.
Colonoscopy is Recommended Every Ten Years Starting at Age 50
If your physician notes any abnormal tissue or polyps, he/she may use the colonoscope to take a sample, or biopsy, for analysis. After the procedure is complete, you will be able to recover in the recovery room. If you received a sedating agent for the procedure, you will need a family member or friend to take you home. This is an invasive procedure and does carry some risks such as infection, bleeding or perforation of the colon. The risk of NOT checking is far greater than the exam itself!
Why Get A Colon Cancer Screening?
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States, but it doesn’t have to be. If everybody age 50 or older had regular screening tests, at least one-third of deaths from this cancer could be avoided. So if you are 50 or older, start screening now.
Who is at risk for colon cancer?
- Both men and women can get colorectal cancer.
- Colorectal cancer is most often found in people 50 and older.
- The risk for getting colorectal cancer increases with age.
For more information or to arrange an exam please contact one of our offices.