Colonoscopy is procedure used to evaluate the lining of the large intestine to screen for colon cancer. It is considered the gold standard for colon cancer screening and a helpful diagnostic tool for many other intestinal disorders and diseases.
During a colonoscopy, a very thin tube containing a miniature camera and light obtains images of your large intestine and rectum through your anal opening. In many cases, colonoscopy is also a treatment procedure. If the team discovers precancerous polyps during your colonoscopy, they can immediately remove them.
Current colon cancer screening guidelines include:
Average risk of colon cancer: All people with an average risk of colon cancer should start colon cancer screening at the age of 45. Average risk means that you have no current symptoms of colorectal issues and don’t have a family history of colon cancer, polyps, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis.
Increased risk of colon cancer: People with an increased risk of colon cancer includes those who have at least one parent, sibling, or child who has or had precancerous polyps or colon cancer. If you’re in this category, you need to schedule a colonoscopy when you’re 10 years younger than the youngest age of colon cancer or polyp diagnosis in your family member, or at the age of 40 (the younger of the two ages).
Certain other circumstances can require a different timeline for colon cancer screening so that the team can recommend the schedule right for you.
Colonoscopy can also diagnose other conditions and diseases, including diverticulosis, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis. You may need a colonoscopy if you’re having possible symptoms of digestive tract disease, like abdominal pain, bloating, or chronic constipation.
NVG will provide you with detailed instructions before your colonoscopy procedure. Usually, this includes making diet changes a full day before the procedure and bowel prep (cleaning your bowels out completely).