A colonoscopy is a medical procedure for the detection of colon cancer and other colon-related illnesses and diseases. Though many people put off or do not want to have these procedures, they are very useful, safe, and not painful. According to the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 15 percent of women and 25 percent of men over the age of 50 have precancerous polyps present during this procedure. Many times, polyps are removed during the colonoscopy without any additional invasive surgery necessary. However, 85 percent of colon cancers can be prevented if those who should get screening would do so.
Colonoscopy - Dr. Alexander Shapsis
What is a Colonoscopy?
It’s a visualization, direct visualization, and evaluation of a large intestine. Colonoscopy is necessary for anyone over the age of 50 that’s what we call the screening colonoscopy.
Why do we need a colonoscopy?
The issue is that over the age of 50 specifically speaking there is a much higher chance of about 2 – 2 1/2 times the increased risk of a growth of specific conditions or the overgrowth of the tissue that we call polyps.
In the beginning, predominantly polyps are benign, this is just a benign growth that will continue growing over time. All though slowly it’s impossible to predict how slowly. But generally, within the next 5 – 10 years if these growths are allowed to continuously evolve there is a much higher chance of that of those growths evolving into malignant cells and this is basically how the colon cancers arise.
When should you get a colonoscopy?
The idea of a colonoscopy is to visualize the large intestine and allow an endoscopist to remove those polyps while they are still not dangerous. That’s precluding colon cancer to ever evolving. So, this is the aspect that allows us the physicians to be ahead of any malignant transformation. It is absolutely necessary, and I highly recommend to anyone of age or if any specific familial or genetic conditions to come to us to get one.
Colonoscopies are a type of screening necessary for people that are over the age of 50. They can significantly reduce your risk of developing advanced cancer in the colon because of early detection and treatment options. Additionally, you may need to have a colonoscopy in Brooklyn if you’ve experienced symptoms such as:
- Chronic diarrhea
- Chronic constipation
- Rectal bleeding
- Abdominal pain that’s otherwise unexplained
- Other intestinal problems
A key reason to have this procedure is to look for polyps. These are generally benign growths that develop in the colon. If left in place, some can develop cancerous cells. Removal of them is important. If you’ve already had polyps removed, your doctor may recommend an additional procedure more frequently than every 10 years to remove any additional developments.
During this procedure, your doctor will insert a flexible tube into the rectum. The tube has a very small camera on it that relays images back to your doctor. These images are very clear and can provide information about inflammation in the colon. In addition, the tube contains small tools that allow the doctor to remove small polyps or abnormal tissue from the area. This can then be used to determine if cancer or other concerns are present.
You’ll be sedated for the colonoscopy. The procedure can be done as an outpatient procedure in a doctor’s office or another facility. Though it does not cause pain, it can be uncomfortable. The sedation ensures you don’t feel anything. The procedure takes about 20 minutes to an hour to complete. Your doctor will likely talk to you after the procedure to tell you what was found, if anything.
Colonoscopies should not be something you worry about or put off. They are not painful and only take a short amount of time to complete. If you are 50 or older, your doctor may recommend one during your annual physical exam. If you believe there is some concern, talk to a Brooklyn gastroenterologist at our Ocean Parkway or Cobble Hill office in Brooklyn, NY about your concerns and schedule a colonoscopy to learn more about the health and function of your colon.