Posts for tag: Colonoscopy
Protect yourself against colorectal cancer. Get screened today.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in men and women in the US, with 1.8 million news cases reported in 2018 alone. From heavy alcohol consumption and diets high in processed meats to obesity, there are many factors that can increase a person’s risk for colorectal cancer. Our Anchorage, AK, gastroenterologists Dr. Daryl McClendon, Dr. Jeffrey Molloy and Dr. Austin Nelson want patients to understand that this cancer is preventable and that a simple colorectal screening could end up saving your life.
What is involved in a colorectal cancer screening?
A colonoscopy is the most effective diagnostic tool that our Anchorage, AK, GI doctors have at their disposal for examining the colon, treating early signs of colorectal cancer and removing polyps before they become cancerous. Routine screenings should start at the age of 45 for both men and women, according to the American Cancer Society.
Before a colonoscopy is performed your doctor will start an IV and administer medication to help you relax and to reduce discomfort. Some patients may even fall asleep during their procedure. A colonoscopy only takes about 30 to 60 minutes to complete, and it involves directing a thin tube (known as a colonoscope) into the rectum and the colon. At the end of the colonoscope is a camera that allows our doctors to examine the lining of the colon.
Any polyps, tumors or susceptible growths can be detected and removed right away during a routine colonoscopy, then the polyp will be submitted to a lab for further testing. If your colonoscopy comes back healthy and you have a low to moderate risk of colorectal cancer then you may not need another colonoscopy for 10 years.
What puts someone at risk for colorectal cancer?
There are certain factors that can increase your chances for developing cancer. Some of these risk factors include:
- Family history of colorectal cancer or colon polyps
- Personal history of colon polyps or colorectal cancer
- Race (African Americans are at a slightly higher risk)
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Being overweight
- Leading a sedentary lifestyle
- Eating a diet high in processed and red meats
- Heavy alcohol use
Talk to your doctor about your risk factors and schedule your first colonoscopy with your gastroenterologist at Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease in both Eagle River and Anchorage, AK. Call our office today to setup an evaluation.
A colonoscopy can be a great diagnostic tool for figuring out certain intestinal issues.
As a medical news report or general doctor may have already told you, a colonoscopy is a great preventive procedure that everyone will have to go through at some point during their lifetime. As we get older, our risk of developing colorectal cancer increases. As a result, it’s a good time to schedule your first colonoscopy with your gastroenterologist around the time you turn 50 years old. This goes for both men and women.
What is a colonoscopy?
This diagnostic procedure is the best way to fully examine and inspect the colon to check for polyps or cancer symptoms. A colonoscopy uses a small tube with a camera attached to the end that can run the full length of the colon so that your GI doctor can easily determine the cause of your gastrointestinal symptoms.
Who should be getting one?
If you come in complaining of abdominal pain or you notice blood in your stool, then a colonoscopy may be the best way to check for polyps, irritable bowel syndrome or other intestinal problems. Of course, even if someone isn’t experiencing symptoms, colonoscopies are still performed by your gastroenterologist.
This minimally invasive procedure is actually the best way to screen for colorectal cancer, and should be something that everyone gets once they reach their 50’s. You may also need to get a colonoscopy sooner if you have certain risk factors that increase your chances of colorectal cancer including:
A personal history with colorectal cancer or polyps
A family history of colorectal cancer or polyps
You are a smoker
You are a heavy drinker
You lead a sedentary lifestyle
You have a diet heavy in red meats and fatty foods
You are obese
You are African American
What should I expect when I get a colonoscopy?
We will provide you with a preparation (either a liquid or pill) to take one day prior to your procedure to help empty your bowels before the procedure. When you come in for a colonoscopy we will have you lie on your side. Next, we will insert an IV into the arm to provide you with sedation that will help you feel more relaxed. Sedation can sometimes make people drowsy or fall asleep during their colonoscopy.
Next, the scope is inserted into the rectum and slowly passed through the intestines. Some air will also be directed through the scope to help us see the intestinal tract better and look for any polyps, bleeding, etc. If we do find a suspicious growth, we can also perform a biopsy. Polyps can also be removed during your procedure.
Don’t put off a colonoscopy. This procedure is easy, there is no recovery period and it could just end up saving your life. Call our office today if you are experiencing any of the symptoms above or if you’ve just recently turned 50 and need to schedule your first colonoscopy with your gastroenterologist.
One of the most effective screening methods for detecting the earliest signs of colorectal cancer is through a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy allows a gastroenterologist to be able to examine the lining of the rectum and colon (lower intestines) to look for precancerous polyps and other warning signs. These precancerous polyps can also be removed during a colonoscopy before they have the chance to develop into cancer. This is why colon cancer screenings are so important.
Who should get regular colon cancer screenings?
Men and women who are between the ages of 45 and 75 should see their gastroenterologist for regular colon cancer screenings. While there are other methods for screening for colon cancer (e.g. stool test; flexible sigmoidoscopy) a colonoscopy is the most effective and accurate screening tool available.
If a patient has never had polyps or other precancerous warning signs they may not need to get further colorectal cancer screenings after age 75. Patients with risk factors may require additional routine screenings after the age of 75.
Of course sometimes it’s necessary to get a colon cancer screening before 45 years old. You may benefit from getting tested earlier if:
- You or an immediate family member has a history of colorectal polyps or colon cancer
- You’ve been diagnosed with an inflammatory bowel disease (e.g. Crohn’s disease; ulcerative colitis)
- You lead an inactive, sedentary lifestyle
- You have a poor diet that is high in fat and low in fiber
- You’ve been diagnosed with diabetes
- You are obese
- You are a heavy alcohol consumer
- You are a smoker
- You’ve undergone radiation therapy to treat cancer
If you have any risk factors it’s important that you talk with your gastroenterologist to find out when you should start getting regular screenings and which screening is right for you based on your health coverage.
What should I expect from a colorectal cancer screening?
As we mentioned, the most common screening tool for colon cancer is a colonoscopy. During this procedure we will insert a thin flexible tube (called an endoscope) into the rectum and gently guide it through the large intestines. At the end of this endoscope is a camera. This camera will allow your GI doctor to look for polyps and other problem. If polyps are found they can be removed during your colonoscopy. If nothing is found during your diagnostic testing, a colonoscopy can take as little as 30 minutes. The patient will be under the effects of conscious sedation throughout the procedure.
Do you have questions about getting a colonoscopy? Is it time to schedule your first routine colon cancer screening? If so, then call your intestinal doctor today.
How your gastroenterologists in Anchorage, Alaska can help you
You probably haven’t thought much about a colonoscopy, but if you are age 50 or older, a colonoscopy is important. That’s because the procedure can detect colorectal cancer at an early stage, when it is most treatable. Colorectal cancer ranks third in cancer deaths. The American Cancer Society estimates that over 49,000 people will die of the disease this year.
The gastroenterologists at Alaska Digestive & Liver Disease in Anchorage, Alaska Dr. Ronald Boisen, Dr. Daryl McClendon, and Dr. Jeffrey Molloy provide a full range of services including colonoscopies, to protect the health of your digestive system.
These are just a few of the most common questions and answers about colonoscopies:
When should I begin having colonoscopies?
When you are at least 50 years old or have a family history of colon cancer. You may also need a colonoscopy if you experience:
- Blood in your stool
- Recurrent diarrhea
- Chronic constipation
- Chronic abdominal pain
How do I prepare for a colonoscopy?
You will need to have only clear liquids the day before your colonoscopy. You will also need to take laxatives prescribed by your doctor to clean out your colon.
Will I be awake during the colonoscopy?
You will probably be sedated for the procedure, so you won’t remember much of the appointment or the procedure. It’s important to bring a driver with you to take you home.
How is a colonoscopy performed?
A small, ultra-thin, flexible tube is inserted into your rectum and threaded through your colon. The tube contains a small camera at the tip, which allows your gastroenterologist to see the inside of your colon.
How long does the procedure take?
The procedure takes about 45 minutes, but the entire appointment will require 2 to 3 hours because of sedation.
A colonoscopy is a vital tool in the fight against colon cancer. To find out more about colonoscopies and other gastrointestinal services to help you stay healthy, call the gastroenterologists at Alaska Digestive & Liver Disease in Anchorage, Alaska today!
Chances are good you’ve heard of a colonoscopy before, whether through a health report on the news or because you know someone who had to get one. A colonoscopy is a diagnostic procedure and often a screening tool that allows your gastroenterologist to be able to see what the lining of the colon and intestines looks. A thin scope is inserted into the rectum and carefully directed through the lower intestines. The scope has a camera at the end that allows your doctor to pinpoint potential problems with the lining of the intestines or colon. There are a few reasons why your doctor might recommend getting a colonoscopy.
If a patient comes in complaining of abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, or persistent diarrhea and these symptoms can’t be explained through a routine exam and testing then your GI doctor may recommend performing a colonoscopy to be able to determine the root cause for these symptoms. This might be particularly helpful if you or a family member has a history of colon cancer or colon polyps.
Even if you are feeling fine, both men and women, once they reach 50-years-old, will need to start getting routine colonoscopies to screen for colon polyps and other signs of colorectal cancer. A colonoscopy is one of the most effective screening tools a gastroenterologist has for being able to pinpoint warning signs of cancer with the large intestines and colon. No other screening tool will be able to provide the detailed imaging that a colonoscopy can.
If the results of your routine colonoscopy come back normal then you probably won’t need to repeat the procedure for another 10 years. If one or more polyps were detected during your colonoscopy your GI specialist may choose to remove them during the procedure but may recommend that you come in more regularly for a colonoscopy.
You may also need to have this procedure performed more often if you have a family or personal history of colon cancer or colon polyps. It’s important to be upfront about your detailed medical history when talking to a gastrointestinal specialist to determine the best colonoscopy schedule to protect your digestive health.
No matter if you are experiencing distressing intestinal symptoms or you just turned 50-years-old, it’s a good idea to turn to a gastrointestinal specialist who can provide you with the individualized care you need. Remember, getting a colonoscopy after you turn 50 could just end up saving your life!
What your gastroenterologist wants you to know
The right time to get a colonoscopy is if you are over 50 years old, or if you have a family history of colon cancer. There are also signs and symptoms to pay attention to which may indicate the need for a colonoscopy. You should see your gastroenterologist to schedule a colonoscopy if you have:
- Rectal bleeding
- Black, tarry stools which may indicate blood in your stool
- A family history of intestinal growths or polyps
- Chronic, recurrent constipation or diarrhea
- Chronic, recurrent pain in your abdomen
A colonoscopy is the primary screening tool to determine if you have colorectal cancer. A colonoscopy also helps to diagnose colorectal cancer at an early stage, when it is more easily treatable. Don’t delay having a colonoscopy because the longer you wait, the more serious colorectal cancer becomes.
The American Cancer Society states that colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in this country, with over 49,000 people dying from the disease this year alone.
A colonoscopy typically requires you to be sedated. A long, ultra-thin flexible tube is inserted into your rectum and guided up through your intestines. The tube contains a camera at one end which allows your gastroenterologist to view your colon, remove polyps or take a small sample of tissue for biopsy.
When you come in for your colonoscopy, be sure to bring a driver with you to take you home, and plan on spending 2 to 3 hours in the office. The procedure takes about 45 minutes, and additional time is required for you to recover from sedation.
Remember that early diagnosis is made possible by having a colonoscopy and that early diagnosis is critical to start early treatment. You don’t want to be a cancer statistic, so if you are over 50 or have a family history of colon cancer, take the time to schedule your colonoscopy. Protect your health by calling today!