Posts for tag: Colonoscopy
One of the most effective screening methods for detecting the earliest signs of colorectal cancer is through a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy allows a gastroenterologist to be able to examine the lining of the rectum and colon (lower intestines) to look for precancerous polyps and other warning signs. These precancerous polyps can also be removed during a colonoscopy before they have the chance to develop into cancer. This is why colon cancer screenings are so important.
Who should get regular colon cancer screenings?
Men and women who are between the ages of 45 and 75 should see their gastroenterologist for regular colon cancer screenings. While there are other methods for screening for colon cancer (e.g. stool test; flexible sigmoidoscopy) a colonoscopy is the most effective and accurate screening tool available.
If a patient has never had polyps or other precancerous warning signs they may not need to get further colorectal cancer screenings after age 75. Patients with risk factors may require additional routine screenings after the age of 75.
Of course sometimes it’s necessary to get a colon cancer screening before 45 years old. You may benefit from getting tested earlier if:
- You or an immediate family member has a history of colorectal polyps or colon cancer
- You’ve been diagnosed with an inflammatory bowel disease (e.g. Crohn’s disease; ulcerative colitis)
- You lead an inactive, sedentary lifestyle
- You have a poor diet that is high in fat and low in fiber
- You’ve been diagnosed with diabetes
- You are obese
- You are a heavy alcohol consumer
- You are a smoker
- You’ve undergone radiation therapy to treat cancer
If you have any risk factors it’s important that you talk with your gastroenterologist to find out when you should start getting regular screenings and which screening is right for you based on your health coverage.
What should I expect from a colorectal cancer screening?
As we mentioned, the most common screening tool for colon cancer is a colonoscopy. During this procedure we will insert a thin flexible tube (called an endoscope) into the rectum and gently guide it through the large intestines. At the end of this endoscope is a camera. This camera will allow your GI doctor to look for polyps and other problem. If polyps are found they can be removed during your colonoscopy. If nothing is found during your diagnostic testing, a colonoscopy can take as little as 30 minutes. The patient will be under the effects of conscious sedation throughout the procedure.
Do you have questions about getting a colonoscopy? Is it time to schedule your first routine colon cancer screening? If so, then call your intestinal doctor today.
This simple diagnostic test could help us detect the early signs of colorectal cancer.
Colorectal cancer can happen to both men and women. In many cases, you won’t even experience symptoms until the cancer has already advanced. Therefore, the most effective way to detect colorectal cancer early on is through routine colonoscopies. Wondering whether or not it’s time to schedule a colonoscopy with one of our Miami gastroenterologists? You should consider getting a colonoscopy if,
You Just Turned 50 Years Old
If you just turned 50 years old then one of the things to put on the top of your to-do list should be a colonoscopy. This rule applies to both men and women. If our Miami GI doctors do not detect any adenomas or colon polyps during your first colonoscopy and you don’t have any risk factors then you may not need to come in for your next colon cancer screening for another 10 years.
Of course, if we find one or two adenomas or polyps, you may need to come in more often for colonoscopies (about every 5 years). Routine colonoscopies usually aren’t required once you reach 75 years old.
You are at Risk for Colorectal Cancer
There are certain habits and factors that can increase your chances of developing colorectal cancer. It’s important to understand the risks. These risks include:
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- A sedentary lifestyle
- A poor diet or a diet rich in fatty foods
- Inflammatory bowel disease (e.g. Crohn’s disease; ulcerative colitis)
- Family history of colorectal cancer or polyps
- Personal history with colorectal polyps
- Being obese
You are Experiencing Certain Gastrointestinal Issues
While it’s common to deal with some gastrointestinal problems every once in a while it’s important to know when it’s time to schedule an appointment with one of our gastroenterologists. It might be time for a colonoscopy if you are noticing any bowel changes that have lasted more than two weeks, or if you are dealing with,
- Blood in the stool
- Abdominal pain
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Trouble with bowel movements
- Dark or narrow stools
If you are noticing any of these symptoms it’s important that you don’t just ignore them. During your evaluation we can determine whether or not a colonoscopy is necessary.
Is it time to schedule your first colonoscopy? If so, call Digestive Medicine Associates in Miami today. We provide comprehensive gastrointestinal services to the Hialeah, Coral Gables, Kendall, and Pembroke Pines, FL, areas.
Getting a colonoscopy for the first time? Then you might be curious to know more about it.
No matter how healthy you are, at some point, you will need to get a colonoscopy, and our Miami, Hialeah, Coral Gables, and Pembroke Pines, FL gastroenterologists understand that you might have questions along the way (particularly if this is your first colonoscopy). Here are some of the most frequently answered questions about getting a colonoscopy.
Q. What is a colonoscopy?
A. A colonoscopy is an endoscopic procedure in which a thin, flexible tube with a camera at the end is carefully inserted into the rectum and guided through the colon so that our Miami, Hialeah, Coral Gables, and Pembroke Pines GI doctor can examine the large intestines for any changes or issues within the lower gastrointestinal tract.
Q. Why is a colonoscopy performed?
A. Both men and women should begin to get routine colonoscopies by the age of 50 to screen for colorectal cancer. This is the most effective tool for detecting the presence of cancer and pre-cancer.
Of course, we may also recommend getting a colonoscopy if you are dealing with intestinal symptoms that require a more in-depth evaluation to make a proper diagnosis. If you are dealing with rectal bleeding, unexpected weight loss, abdominal pain, abdominal swelling or other intestinal symptoms then a colonoscopy may be the best way to determine what’s going on.
Q. How long does a colonoscopy take?
A. The procedure itself only takes about 15 to 30 minutes to complete. Of course, it might take longer if we have to remove colon polyps. Patients are placed under sedation so they won’t feel anything during their procedure. Some patients even fall asleep and don’t remember the procedure at all.
Q. How often should I get a routine colonoscopy?
A. Healthy individuals should get their first colonoscopy by the time they turn 50 years old. If you have risk factors for colorectal cancer then you’ll want to talk to your gastroenterologist about whether you should come in for routine colonoscopies earlier. If you don’t have any risk factors and your colonoscopy results were normal then you probably won’t need a repeat screening for 10 years; however, if colon polyps are found then you may need to get screened more regularly (about every five years).
Q. What are some risk factors associated with colorectal cancer?
A. Risk factors for colorectal cancer include:
- Inflammatory bowel disease (e.g. ulcerative colitis; Crohn’s disease)
- A personal or family history of colorectal cancer or polyps
- Being overweight or obese
- Poor diet
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Heavy alcohol consumption
Do you need to schedule your first colonoscopy? Do you have questions about this or other services we offer? Don’t hesitate to reach out to the caring, knowledgeable team at Digestive Medicine Associates. We offer locations in Hialeah, Coral Gables, Pembroke Pines and Miami, FL, to serve you better.
What your gastroenterologist wants you to know
The right time to get a colonoscopy is if you are over 50 years old, or if you have a family history of colon cancer. There are also signs and symptoms to pay attention to which may indicate the need for a colonoscopy. You should see your gastroenterologist to schedule a colonoscopy if you have:
- Rectal bleeding
- Black, tarry stools which may indicate blood in your stool
- A family history of intestinal growths or polyps
- Chronic, recurrent constipation or diarrhea
- Chronic, recurrent pain in your abdomen
A colonoscopy is the primary screening tool to determine if you have colorectal cancer. A colonoscopy also helps to diagnose colorectal cancer at an early stage, when it is more easily treatable. Don’t delay having a colonoscopy because the longer you wait, the more serious colorectal cancer becomes.
The American Cancer Society states that colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in this country, with over 49,000 people dying from the disease this year alone.
A colonoscopy typically requires you to be sedated. A long, ultra-thin flexible tube is inserted into your rectum and guided up through your intestines. The tube contains a camera at one end which allows your gastroenterologist to view your colon, remove polyps or take a small sample of tissue for biopsy.
When you come in for your colonoscopy, be sure to bring a driver with you to take you home, and plan on spending 2 to 3 hours in the office. The procedure takes about 45 minutes, and additional time is required for you to recover from sedation.
Remember that early diagnosis is made possible by having a colonoscopy and that early diagnosis is critical to start early treatment. You don’t want to be a cancer statistic, so if you are over 50 or have a family history of colon cancer, take the time to schedule your colonoscopy. Protect your health by calling today!