Screening colonoscopy beginning at 50 and repeated every 10 years with a negative (polyp-free and cancer-free) test result.
What is a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a screening procedure that enables us to find potentially precancerous polyps in the colon.
Why are colonoscopies necessary?
Most people don’t know that colorectal cancer is the second leading killer cancer of both men and women in the US—and it is the most preventable cancer thanks to today’s colonoscopy techniques. That’s reason enough to get a screening colonoscopy. Colon cancer usually develops slowly, over several years, so getting regular colonoscopies under the direction of your physician is the best way to catch it early.
Who should get a colonoscopy?
If you’re over 50, you should get an initial, screening colonoscopy as soon as possible. If you have a family history of cancer, you may need to be screened at an earlier age. If we don’t find anything, then you won’t need another colonoscopy for 10 years. As your physicians, we’ll come up with a screening schedule that fits with your lifestyle and risk factors.
What are the risk factors for colon cancer?
Age, weight, diet, activity level and family history all affect your risk for colon cancer. We can’t say this enough: Getting regular exercise and eating healthy go a long way in the fight against cancer. If you have a family history of cancer, talk to your primary physician about when you should get a screening colonoscopy.
How are today's colonoscopies different?
Colonoscopies today are performed with light anesthesia. For the patient, this feels like conscious sedation. You’re awake but very sleepy. Our Olympus colonscopes give us greater visibility, so we’re able to detect smaller polyps sooner and remove them immediately during the colonoscopy. Thanks to improvements in technology, the death rate from colorectal cancer has dropped significantly over the past 20 years.
How do I prepare for a colonoscopy?
Today’s prep methods are more user-friendly than they used to be. The day before your procedure, you’ll drink a sports drink-like liquid over the course of a couple of hours or several hours depending on what your doctor prescribes. This is a colon cleansing liquid, so you’ll want to stay close to home. You shouldn‘t experience too much discomfort, but if you do, we ask you to call us.
What happens if you find something during my colonoscopy?
Most often, we remove questionable polyps during the colonoscopy, so you don’t have to come back for another procedure. The whole process takes about 45 minutes to an hour.
Why should I have my colonoscopy at HCM?
Because not all colonoscopies are created equal, and we’re really good at them. Here at HCM, our goal is to give patients peace of mind, not to perform the most procedures. Every colonoscopy is performed by a certified and dedicated specialist, and based on their feedback, our patients are very satisfied with the care we give them. But the bottom line, no pun intended, is that we find almost 50% more potentially cancerous polyps than other colonoscopies. Finding more polyps means preventing more cancer, creating a healthier you.