A colonoscopy is a procedure in which the doctor uses a thin tube known as a colonoscope to inspect the interior of the colon ad screen for cancer. Using a video camera that is attached to the tube, the doctor can take pictures, watch the video, and even collect tissues samples to test for cancer. A colonoscopy can help check for polyps, cancer, and other abnormal growths as well as to ensure the overall health of the large intestine.
Doctors may perform a colonoscopy for a number of reasons. Primarily, it is used to test for colon cancer, as well as to check for any precancerous polyps before they become cancerous. Any person that is experiencing blood in stools or extreme changes in bowel habits may be recommended to have a colonoscopy depending on their condition.
Additionally, all adults over the age of 50 are recommended to get a colonoscopy at least once every ten years. For people who have a family history of polyps or colon cancer may need to be screened earlier. Typically, routine screening can end after age 75 if the patient has never had any suspicious results.
Patients do need to prepare for a colonoscopy procedure to make sure things go smoothly. To do this, they must begin a colon cleanse one to two days before the procedure is scheduled. This involves ingesting a substance that voids out the colon, causing diarrhea and multiple bowel movements throughout the day. This makes it easier for the doctor to navigate and investigate the colon because it will be empty.
Additionally with the testing preparation, patients typically have to ingest a clear liquid diet, avoiding food until after the test is over.
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