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A Colonoscopy Procedure Is Used To Find Polyps For Cancer Screening

A colonoscopy may be ordered by your physician to check for signs of colon cancer. This test can be done as a general cancer screening test or as a diagnostic test when you're having symptoms that involve your colon. This is a common test that's usually recommended for older adults to check for polyps in the colon. If polyps are found, the doctor can remove them at the same time. Here's information about the colonoscopy procedure you should know.

Sedation Is Provided

Your doctor determines the level of sedation you need. You might be given anesthesia, but it's common to just receive a sedative so you're relaxed and comfortable. You'll probably sleep throughout the procedure. You'll also be groggy when the colonoscopy is over, so you won't be able to drive yourself home. You'll need someone to drive you home and also talk to the doctor after the procedure since you may not be alert enough to remember the recovery instructions you may be given.

The Colonoscopy Procedure Goes Fairly Fast

Unless your doctor encounters polyps that need to be removed during the procedure, a colonoscopy usually goes fairly quickly. However, you'll need to allow a few hours for your appointment since much of the time is devoted to administering the sedation and allowing you to recover before you leave. During the colonoscopy procedure, the doctor examines the inside of your colon with a lighted scope. This allows them to see the lining of your colon and find small polyps if they're present.

Polyps Are Removed If Possible

If your doctor finds polyps, they may remove them using a tool that fits through the scope. A polyp is snared and then saved so it can be sent to a lab to look for cancer cells. Polyps aren't always cancerous, but since cancer often starts as a polyp, the doctor wants to find out if cancer cells are present.

A small percentage of polyps can't be snared during a routine screening colonoscopy. When that's the case, you might need to schedule a different treatment to get the polyps removed. You won't get the results right away since the lab needs to analyze the samples. Your doctor's office should call you within several days to let you know the results of your colonoscopy and lab results.

Proper Preparation Is Important

You'll need to clean your colon before the procedure can be done. This usually involves drinking a laxative that may not be too appealing, but it's essential that you follow the instructions your doctor provides about cleaning out your colon. If your colon isn't clean enough, the procedure may need to be rescheduled, and then you'll need to go through the process all over again.

Your doctor provides you with detailed instructions on what to do about taking your regular medications before the procedure, the foods and liquids you can consume before the colonoscopy procedure, and how to use the laxative.

Contact a doctor to learn more about colonoscopy procedures.