In health terms, what you don’t know can definitely hurt you. And it is possible to develop colon cancer that may go undetected for years.
The longer cancer remains hidden inside your body, the likelihood of developing difficulties increases severalfold. That is why it is imperative that you catch any growths as soon as possible. And thanks to the use of the colonoscopy, doctors have a reliable and relatively simple method of screening patients for the presence of tumors and growths that qualify as pre-cancerous.
What is included in a colonoscopy?
The colonoscopy effectively provides a colon cancer screening by allowing doctors to assess the inner lining of a patient’s large intestine (including the colon and rectum). By utilizing a thin, flexible tube called a colonoscope, Longstreet Clinic surgeons survey potentially cancerous colon polyps or tumors, as well as areas of inflammation or bleeding that may pose a risk to your health.
Longstreet Clinic patients experience colonoscopy under sedation, performed by board-certified anesthesiologists. This helps ensure a pain-free, pleasant experience.
When should I have a colonoscopy?
The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that even healthy people without a family history of colon cancer should begin colorectal cancer screenings by age 45 – and again every 10 years through the age of 75 – for the purpose of removing and diagnosing colonic polyps before they become cancerous.
The ACS also notes that, for healthy people ages 76-85, the decision to be screened should be based on a person’s preferences, life expectancy, overall health, and prior screening history. Meanwhile, people over 85 no longer require colonoscopy.
Note that people at increased or high risk of colorectal cancer may require screening before age 45, as well as to be screened more often. Therefore, those patients with:
- A strong family history of colorectal cancer or certain types of polyps
- A personal history of colorectal cancer or certain types of polyps
- A personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease)
- A known family history of a hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or Lynch syndrome (also known as hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer or HNPCC)
- A personal history of radiation to the abdomen (belly) or pelvic area to treat a prior cancer
Should expect to undergo colonoscopy at an earlier age and more frequently than an otherwise healthy patient.
Is colonoscopy expensive?
The good news is that your colon screening may be performed at no cost to you, as most commercial insurance plans now provide coverage for preventive care including age/risk-appropriate screenings such as colonoscopies.*
What all is involved in a colonoscopy?
Colonoscopy preparation requires some effort on the patient’s part. Typically requiring 6 to 8 hours, you will need to embark on a quick cleanse. Your physician will prescribe a laxative to help you achieve this. Plan to stay home during your prep time since you will need to use the bathroom often.
However, not all preparations are the same, and our physicians will determine the best method for you – ensuring as smooth an experience as possible. And while it does require some decisiveness and determination on your part, remember that it is only fleeting and is of utmost importance to your overall health.
Longstreet Clinic are experts at colonoscopy
Longstreet Clinic’s surgeons perform more than 2,000 colonoscopy procedures annually in a relaxed and professional setting. Colonoscopy screenings are performed at Gainesville Surgery Center and Northeast Georgia Medical Center. And our board-certified general surgeons will walk with you through each step of the process.
Each of our physicians has a great deal of experience performing colonoscopies and will work with you to ensure that your entire examination goes as comfortably and smoothly as possible.
Whether the procedure is for routine cancer screening or another colon-related issue, The Longstreet Clinic’s team of healthcare professionals is committed to providing you with the most effective treatment in as relaxing an environment as possible.
If you think it is time for you to have a colonoscopy, for more information or to make an appointment for your colon cancer screening, contact us today or call 770-536-2323.
*As required by the Affordable Care Act