Today in this world from contagious to genetic diseases, all are diagnosed before the birth of baby, when it is inside the mother’s womb. Around 50 years back, cancer was only diagnosed at the end stage and at such stage even medicines and technology could not save one’s life. Now here in the 21st century, the cancer screening tools have helped to diagnose cancer and also to prevent it at the very initial stage. With innovative research in medicine and technology, it has become easier to save one’s life along with putting less efforts and cost effective.
Colonoscopy as the name suggests is a tool through which one can see the whole colon, unlike the sigmoidoscopy. As per the medical definition, colonoscopy is a procedure which uses a thin, long, flexible, narrow tube with a light and a camera on one end to look inside your rectum and large intestine. This procedure is done only by trained doctor. Colonoscopy identifies irritated tissues, colon polyps, ulcer and cancer inside the colon. During this procedure, tissue sample can be collected and abnormal growth can be taken out.
Colonoscopy can be used by a doctor for unexplained symptoms such as:
- Abdominal pain
- Bleeding from anus
- Bowel activity changes
- Unexplained weight loss
Colonoscopy is the best available screening test for cancer and pre-cancerous growth in the colon and rectum. Colorectal cancer affect adult at the age of 50 and more. This screening can detect cancer at very early stage, when doctor have better chance to cure. Colonoscopy is almost similar to sigmoidoscopy, the only difference being related to which part of colon each examines. A colonoscopy can examine the entire intestine (1200 mm to 1500 mm in length) while sigmoidoscopy examines 600 mm of the colon. Sigmoidoscopy can miss cancerous growth wherein colonoscopy can detect early cancer.
Preparing for colonoscopy:
A health care professional will give you written bowel preparation instructions to follow at home before the procedure. You may need to follow liquid diet for 1 to 3 days in order to avoid little to no stool in the colon. The stool inside colon prevents the trained professional to properly view the lining of intestine. The bowel preparation may cause diarrhea, so it is necessary to stay home during the preparation.
A specialist performs this procedure. An intravenous needle is placed in the vein to give you sedative, painkillers so one can relax during the procedure. The doctor tells the patient to lie on one side, and then he inserts the colonoscopy inside the rectum. The scope pumps air in the colon in order to give a better view of the colon. The camera sends a video image allowing the doctor to monitor. Once the scope reaches the opening of small intestine, the doctor withdraw and again checks the large intestine thoroughly.
In case of any abnormal growth in the intestine, the tissue are removed and sent for biopsy. Colon polyps are common in adults and are harmless in most of the cases. However, colon cancer begins as a polyp, so removing early is effective way to prevent colorectal cancer. The time take for this procedure is around 30 to 60 minutes.
Risk of colonoscopy:
Any medical intervention has minimum risk associated with it. So as colonoscopy too has few risk
- Colon perforation
- Abnormal reaction to sedative
- Pain in abdomen
In most cases, bleeding and perforation is seen. As bleeding happens when there is polyp removal. Doctor may prescribe painkiller for pain management and ask to avoid aspirin and NSAID’s. Perforation is treated by surgery. In case you have severe pain in abdomen, fever, bloody stool, dizziness, weakness after colonoscopy, immediately rush to doctor. Your doctor may be able to tell you the results immediately after the procedure.
In order to prevent colorectal cancer, it is very important to monitor it at very early stage and this is done by combination of colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy and fecal occult blood test.
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Radha K. Iyer is a contributing writer on Treatum Blog. When she is not writing, she can be found reading health and food blogs or experimenting with her culinary skills.
Disclaimer: The entire content of this article is for information purpose only and is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information. It is not a substitute for professional care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem and disease.