Cancer screenings are one of your most important health check-ups, especially as you age. Colorectal cancer is widespread in the United States, but it’s also one of the most easily prevented diseases. Have your colon checked for cancer and pre-cancerous polyps if you’re 45 years old or older. The Medex Diagnostic and treatment Center in Queens, NY is well equipped to perform this procedure. And you get the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re cancer-free. Call today for an appointment.

A colonoscopy is a safe procedure that provides early detection of cancer cells and pre-cancerous polyps in your colon. Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer affecting Americans. Increased awareness and early detection save nearly 30,000 people each year from this cancer.

During a colonoscopy, your gastroenterologist inserts a colonoscope into your large intestine. The procedure allows your doctor inspect for various gastrointestinal disorders, including polyps. Not all polyps, which are growths on the lining of your colon, are pre-cancerous.

Many Americans avoid this procedure out of fear, even though it’s covered by most insurance policies. While a colonoscopy may seem intimidating, the procedure itself is quite painless. Speaking with a specialist often puts your fears to rest. At the Medex Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Queens, NY, gastroenterologists have the training and experience to perform successful colonoscopies on patients like you.

Why a Colonoscopy Is Necessary

Just like many of the diseases that afflict the human body, colorectal cancer is more easily cured when it’s detected in its earliest stages. Early detection of pre-cancerous cells can even prevent cancer in the first place. Colonoscopies do just that, allowing physicians to discover and remove pre-cancerous growths.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 141,000 Americans were diagnosed with colon or rectum cancer in 2017. More than 50,000 died from the disease that year. The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends getting a colonoscopy every 10 years, starting at age 45. If your family has a history of colorectal cancer, start even earlier.

Colonoscopies are considered the gold standard for colorectal cancer screening. They’re also the best way to examine polyps. While polyps in your colon are common and most are harmless, some can turn cancerous. Besides finding signs of colorectal cancer, a colonoscopy helps your doctor diagnose:

  • Crohn’s disease
  • Diverticular disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Bowel cancer

Before Your Colonoscopy

Before you agree to a colonoscopy, inform your Medex doctor about any medications you currently take. While you may continue most, your doctor needs to know if you’re taking certain things, such as:

You may feel anxious before your colonoscopy. That’s completely normal. Try focusing on the benefits of the procedure.

Prepping for the Colonoscopy

Prepping is the worst part of the process; it’s worse than the procedure itself, since you’re under sedation during that part. When people complain about getting a colonoscopy, they’re complaining about the preparation for the procedure. While it may be uncomfortable, you can tolerate it easily enough, as long as you’re prepared for it.

The goal of this preparation is to completely clear out your bowels before your colonoscopy procedure. Your diet is restricted during this time to clear liquids, such as broth, water, sports drinks and coffee or tea without cream. You can’t drink any liquids for three hours before your procedure.

Your gastroenterologist likely gives you a powdered laxative in a gallon jug that you must consume the day prior and morning of your procedure. The powerful laxative is what causes most complaints, but it’s absolutely necessary to clear out your colon. It’s a pleasant-tasting drink, but it will keep you close to a toilet once you start. And you must drink the whole gallon, often in two sessions.

The Colonoscopy Procedure

After you’re sedated and positioned, your physician pushes a long flexible tube called a colonoscope into your rectum and large intestine. Air is pumped in to inflate your bowels, giving your doctor a better view of your intestinal walls.

Your gastroenterologist inserts tiny, specialized instruments — including a light, camera and surgical tools — through the colonoscope as needed. If polyps are found, they’re removed with a laser or electrified wire loops. Suspicious cells may require a biopsy for further investigation, but this too can be accomplished during the procedure.

What Happens After the Procedure?

Expect to spend about two hours at the Medex Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Queens, even though your colonoscopy takes less than an hour. After the colonoscopy, you spend time recovering from the sedative. You aren’t allowed to drive yourself home, so make sure to arrange a ride.

You won’t be able to work for the rest of the day. Gas and bloating are typical for a few hours after the procedure until the pumped-in air escapes your intestine. Walking helps. Your doctor typically tells you to relax for the rest of the day, but you are free to eat and drink normally.

You’ll learn your results fairly quickly, sometimes right after the procedure. Suspicious polyps or biopsied tissue samples must be sent to a laboratory to determine if they’re cancerous. The gastroenterologists at the Medex Diagnostic and Treatment Center perform colonoscopies safely and professionally. Contact them today to schedule your cancer screening procedure.

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