Your doctor has scheduled you for a colonoscopy. If you are at least 50 years of age and have no symptoms, it is most likely a screening colonoscopy. If you have symptoms, like blood in your stool, your doctor may have ordered a diagnostic colonoscopy. The two are the same procedure and only differ in how your insurance is filed. The important thing to remember is that screening saves lives. When found early, colon cancer is over 90% curable. That’s an incredible statistic – let us help you put the odds in your favor.
Unfortunately, many people postpone or simply refuse to schedule this life-saving procedure. The reasons vary from embarrassment to fear; at Vanguard Gastro we have heard them all. It is natural to fear the unknown, but education erases fear. You are in good hands at Vanguard Gastro. We are a patient-centered practice committed to your care and well-being.
The Screening Colonoscopy Procedure
During a colonoscopy, your gastroenterologist will inspect your rectum and colon using a state of the art scope that allows him or her to see the entire lining of your colon. Your doctor is looking for polyps. These growths can be benign, a precancerous adenoma, or a malignancy. The polyp is removed immediately. The main reason that colon cancer diagnoses are declining in the US is that during screening colonoscopies, the doctor is removing the polyps before they can become malignant. Don’t worry; you will be given a sedative that makes this whole procedure very comfortable.
How Long Does A Screening Colonoscopy Take?
The entire procedure only takes about 30 minutes. You will then be moved to recovery to allow time for the sedative to wear off. Your doctor will advise you of the results of your test and if necessary schedule you for any follow-up appointment needed. If there was a polyp removed it will be sent to pathology and you will be called with the results. The sedative can have an effect for about 24 hours, so you will need a driver to make sure you get home safely.
Am I At Risk For Colon Cancer?
It is important to understand your individual risk for developing colon cancer. Risk factors include:
- Family history of Colon Cancer
- Being over the age of 50 or 45 for African-Americans
- Being overweight
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Extended periods of inactivity
Preparation For A Colonoscopy
In order to have a successful procedure, it is important to have a successful preparation. You must follow all of the directions that are provided to you. You probably have a preconceived notion of what a prep will be like, but it is important to know that times have changed and preps have improved. Following a few guidelines, you can improve your experience. The most important thing to remember is this – you may be saving your own life. Isn’t that worth a day of your time?
For specific information about the prep your doctor has ordered, see our prep page here.
Please Note: A $75.00 cancellation fee will be charged for all procedures cancelled with less than Two (2) business days notice.