A colonoscopy is an important screening and diagnostic tool for colorectal cancer and other diseases of the large intestine. It is a procedure that uses a long, flexible tube (colonoscope) to view the inside of the entire colon and rectum. This allows the doctor to look for signs of colorectal cancer, such as swollen, irritated tissues, or polyps (small growths on the inner wall of the large intestine).
Colonoscopies are highly recommended for people over the age of 50, as well as those who are at an increased risk for colorectal cancer. During a colonoscopy, a tiny camera at the tip of the scope is used to take pictures of the inside of the large intestine. Additionally, if any polyps or abnormal tissue are found during the procedure, they can be removed through the scope.
Preparing for a colonoscopy is an important part of the process. The day before the procedure, the patient must follow a special diet and take a laxative or enema to clean out the colon. This ensures that the doctor has a clear view of the large intestine during the procedure.
On the day of the procedure, the patient will be given a sedative to help them relax and remain comfortable throughout the procedure. During the procedure, the patient will lie on their side and the scope will be inserted into the rectum. The scope will be used to take pictures of the entire large intestine and any abnormalities can be removed or biopsied.
After the procedure, the patient may experience some mild cramping, along with a feeling of bloating. This should subside after a few hours. The doctor will send a written report of the findings of the procedure to the patient and their primary care physician.
Colonoscopy is a safe and effective way to screen for colorectal cancer and other diseases of the large intestine. It can help to detect polyps and other abnormal tissue, as well as provide an early warning sign for colorectal cancer. Talk to your doctor about getting a colonoscopy if you are over the age of 50 or have any risk factors for colorectal cancer.
What a Positive Results Means
A positive colonoscopy means that an abnormal growth such as a polyp or abnormal tissue has been found in the colon. While most polyps are not cancerous, some are precancerous and can develop into cancer if left untreated.
The polyps that are found during the colonoscopy are sent to a lab for testing to see if they are cancerous or precancerous. Depending on the size and number of polyps found, your doctor may recommend a more rigorous follow-up schedule for future colonoscopies.
For example, if your doctor finds one or two polyps measuring less than 0.4 inches (1 centimeter) in diameter, they may recommend that you get another colonoscopy 7-10 years later.
However, the follow-up frequency may be different if you have more than two polyps, a large polyp larger than 0.4-inch (1 centimeter), polyps and residual stool in the colon, or polyps with cell characteristics that indicate a higher risk of developing cancer.
Having a positive colonoscopy can be worrisome, but it is important to remember that the risks of colon cancer can be greatly reduced if any polyps found during the procedure are promptly removed.
If you have had a positive colonoscopy, it is important to follow the recommendations of your doctor in order to reduce your risk of colon cancer. You may need to get a follow-up colonoscopy more often and make sure you follow a healthy lifestyle to reduce your risk of colon cancer.
Eating a balanced diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, getting enough physical activity, and quitting smoking can all help reduce your risk of colon cancer. If you have any questions or concerns about what a positive colonoscopy means, it is important to talk to your doctor.
They are the best source of information and can help you understand what the results of your colonoscopy mean and how to reduce your risk of colon cancer in the future.