Stop Wondering And Get Some Of The Answers About Getting A Colonoscopy

Posted on: 5 December 2022

Individuals who discover that they have colon cancer in the early stages have a higher success rate of going into remission.  This means that the cancer is considered cured. Unfortunately, some individuals do not go to their routine physical examinations and do not have any idea of the age that they should start getting colonoscopy procedures.

Advanced colon cancer is more complex for oncologists to treat. However, some individuals who discover their cancer in the later stages may go into remission. The following points address some of the concerns that individuals have about colonoscopies.

What factors prompt doctors to order a colonoscopy for patients?

Doctors use a variety of factors from patients' personal medical histories and their family histories. They may also order a colonoscopy procedure if a patient reports bloody stools, rectal bleeding, diarrhea, constipation, or abdominal cramping. The procedure would be performed to rule out colon cancer or to identify polyps, which are growths that could be precancerous or cancerous. If there are lifestyle issues such as using tobacco products, heavy alcohol consumption, poor diet, or an inactive lifestyle, doctors might consider a patient at high risk for having or developing colon complications. Individuals who have conditions such as Crohn's disease or inflammatory bowel disease may also be at a higher risk for colon cancer. 

Can a primary care physician perform a colonoscopy procedure in their office?

No. These procedures are performed by Gastroenterologists. These are doctors who have completed formal medical school and pursued additional education to become licensed to practice in their respective specialties

How is a colonoscopy performed? 

Gastroenterologists insert an endoscope into their patients' rectums. An endoscope is a small wand-like piece of medical equipment that has a scope/camera on it. It allows the doctor to get detailed images of the colon (large intestines) and the rectum. The imaging captures polyps, swelling, irritation, and blockages. Some individuals who report having frequent bouts of constipation have blockages, which can be cleared and aid in returning their bowel movements back to normal.

If polyps are discovered, the doctor will need to perform a biopsy to determine whether cancerous or precancerous cells are present. If cancer is discovered, a treatment plan will need to be implemented. The presence of polyps with precancerous cells will likely result in the removal of the polyps to prevent them from advancing to cancer, and benign polyps are also removed for this reason. 

Some individuals forgo colon cancer screening because they have heard that they are uncomfortable. Consider this: having cancer may be a grueling experience that lasts months or years. Early detection by means of a short procedure can be lifesaving, and the procedure does not have to be performed every year. A primary care physician and gastroenterologist are good resources to use to understand the importance of getting a routine colonoscopy performed as recommended. 

Reach out to a service like Gastro Health to learn more.