Colonoscopy is a medical procedure that allows doctors to examine the inside of the colon (large intestine) and rectum. Colonoscopy is a valuable tool for screening and diagnosing colon cancer and other digestive disorders. In this article, we’ll explore the significance of colonoscopy screening in healthcare.
Why is Colonoscopy Screening Important?
Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in the world and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths. However, colon cancer is also one of the most preventable and treatable cancers when detected early through screening.
Colonoscopy is the most effective screening test for colon cancer. During the procedure, doctors can detect and remove precancerous growths (polyps) before they become cancerous. This can reduce the risk of developing colon cancer by up to 90%. Early detection of colon cancer through colonoscopy can also improve the chances of successful treatment and survival.
Who Should Get a Colonoscopy?
The American Cancer Society recommends that individuals at average risk of colon cancer begin regular colon cancer screening at age 45. However in Singapore, the recommended age is for 50 and above while individuals with a family history of colon cancer or other risk factors may need to begin screening earlier or undergo more frequent screening.
What to Expect During a Colonoscopy
Before the Procedure
Before the procedure, patients will need to follow specific instructions provided by their doctor to prepare for the colonoscopy. This may include a special diet and cleansing of the colon to ensure a clear view of the inside of the colon during the procedure.
During the Procedure
During the procedure, patients will be given sedation to help them relax and minimize discomfort. The doctor will insert a flexible tube with a camera on the end into the rectum and slowly guide it through the colon.
The camera will transmit images of the inside of the colon to a monitor, allowing the doctor to examine the lining of the colon and detect any abnormalities. If abnormal tissue is found during the colonoscopy, the doctor may remove it for further testing or biopsy. The procedure typically takes 30 to 60 minutes to complete.
After the Procedure
After the procedure, patients will need to rest and recover from the sedation. They may experience some cramping or bloating and may need to pass gas to relieve any discomfort. Patients will need to arrange for a ride home as they will not be able to drive after the sedation. At Curasia Endoscopy Centre, transport is provided so that our patients and their family can be assured of their safety.
Patients should follow the doctor’s instructions for diet and activity after the procedure. They may need to avoid solid foods for a period of time and gradually reintroduce them. Patients should also avoid strenuous activity for a period of time to allow the colon to heal.
Risks and Complications
As with any medical procedure, there are risks and complications associated with colonoscopy. These may include bleeding, infection, perforation of the colon, and adverse reactions to sedation.
However, the risk of complications is low, and the benefits of colonoscopy in detecting and preventing colon cancer far outweigh the potential risks.
In addition to colonoscopy, there are several steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing colon cancer and other digestive disorders. These include:
- Eating a Healthy Diet. Eating a diet that is high in fiber and low in fat can help reduce the risk of colon cancer and other digestive disorders.
- Exercising Regularly. Regular exercise can help promote healthy digestion and reduce the risk of colon cancer and other health problems.
- Quitting Smoking. Smoking is a known risk factor for colon cancer and other health problems. Quitting smoking can help reduce the risk of developing these conditions.
- Reducing Alcohol Consumption. Excessive alcohol consumption is a known risk factor for colon cancer and other health problems. Reducing alcohol consumption can help reduce the risk of developing these conditions.
- Managing Chronic Conditions. Chronic conditions such as diabetes, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis can increase the risk of colon cancer and other digestive disorders. Managing these conditions through medication and lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk of developing these conditions.
- Regular Health Check-ups. Regular health check-ups can help detect and prevent colon cancer and other health problems. Talk to your doctor about the recommended screening tests and frequency based on your individual risk factors.
Colonoscopy screening is a significant tool in healthcare for detecting and preventing colon cancer and other digestive disorders. While it may require some preparation and time commitment, the benefits of early detection and prevention far outweigh the potential risks.
By following a healthy lifestyle and working with your doctor to determine the appropriate screening schedule, you can reduce your risk of developing colon cancer and enjoy a better quality of life.