What To Expect from a Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy can be less worrisome when you know what to expect.

Statistics show that colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women combined in this country. The good news? A colonoscopy is an effective form of preventative medicine. It's an important tool in diagnosing colon cancer early when it's most treatable, and even detecting and removing polyps before they become cancerous. And like any medical procedure, a colonoscopy can be less worrisome when you know what to expect.

Preparation may vary depending on your doctor's recommendations. He or she may prescribe a diet of clear liquids, a course of enemas or laxatives, or medication in liquid or pill form. The purpose of such preparation is to cleanse your colon for optimal testing.

The procedure itself is a fairly simple outpatient test. It takes approximately 30 minutes and entails using a flexible tube called a colon scope and a very small camera to view the colon and remove polyps if found. Typically you are sedated and given medication to manage any discomfort.

Recovery time is minimal. While you will need someone to drive you home after the procedure, most people resume normal activity the same day or the following day. And after receiving good test results, you may not need to have another colonoscopy for up to ten years. 

Interested in learning more about preventing colon cancer or having a colonoscopy? March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and is a great opportunity to read about our Colorectal Services online and talk with your primary care doctor or gastroenterologist. Need to find a doctor? Use our online Find a Physician service or call our physician referral line at 855-880-4MCL (4625).

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