Recommended cancer screenings begin at age 50. If you have a family history of colon cancer, the ACS’s recommendations are to start screening at an earlier age.
A colonoscopy is an outpatient procedure and may be used to evaluate many problems, including: Abdominal pain; anemia, blood in the stool, change in bowel habits, unexplained weight loss or to screen for colon cancer or polyps in the colon. This is the procedure physicians use to diagnose and treat, when possible, certain diseases of the lower gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which includes the rectum and colon.
An upper endoscopy, or EGD, is a similar outpatient procedure used to examine your upper digestive tract. An endoscope can be inserted through the mouth and throat and into the esophagus to allow the physician to view the esophagus, stomach and upper part of the small intestine.
In order for the physician to have a thorough look at your colon you will need to cleanse your bowel system and follow diet or fluid restrictions the night before the procedure. Some people report that the preparation for these procedures is more taxing than the actual procedure itself. A preparation kit and instructions will be reviewed with you prior to your appointment.
The next day, you will be ready for your screening. Once your physician has reviewed your procedure and answered any additional questions, you will receive medication to relax you. Be sure to arrange for a driver to bring you home and allow for some hours to rest afterwards. The procedure normally lasts between 15 and 30 minutes but you should allow between 2-3 hours at the facility due to the sedation medication. The Physician will use a colonoscope, a long, flexible, tubular instrument about ½ inch in diameter that transmits an image of the lining of the colon so the doctor can examine it for any abnormalities. The scope bends, so the physician can move it around the curves of your colon. You may experience some mild cramping but nursing staff is also on hand during the examination to help alleviate any discomfort.
During the exam, your physician or specialist may remove small amounts of tissue if needed for analysis and/or abnormal growths (polyps). Polyps are common in adults and are usually harmless. However, most colorectal cancer begins as a polyp, so removing them early is an effective way to prevent cancer. A colonoscopy allows for accurate diagnosis and treatment.
Paynesville Area Health Care System offers appointments with Dr.’s Tim Malling, Randy Zimmerman, Robert Gardner and Randy Nelson, along with specialists Alan Tims, Patrick Oakes and Manuel Moran. Appointments are available on a weekly basis through Paynesville Specialty Services and can be scheduled through your family medical provider.
Thu, December 1, 2011
by Happenings Winter 2011