A colonoscopy procedure is nothing to be afraid of.
Never mind any rumors out there about the preparation and the procedure.
I'm speaking from my own experience in 2013!
From what I've heard over the years, too many people are hesitant to have the screening done because it's so "inconvenient." Say what??
Well, it's somewhat understandable, but…
How can a procedure that quite possibly can save your life be "inconvenient?"
Let me briefly explain what a colonoscopy is.
It's basically an examination of the large bowel (sometimes beyond – into the small intestine) to look for abnormalities such as polyps, ulcerations, tumors and inflammation.
This is done in a hospital or outpatient center by a physician specialist with the aid of the colonoscope - a thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera.
The doctor can take pictures or video of the inner lining of the colon to visually diagnose, detect and remove abnormal tissue or growths.
The removal of these is done with tiny tools that are fed through the flexible tube. These lesions can then be further studied (biopsied) in a pathology laboratory to determine if they may be benign or precancerous.
Now, all this is of course done while you're lightly anesthetized and comfortably resting on a soft table. It takes about 30 to 60 minutes. You feel nothing – and remember nothing.
It's all perfectly private and professional. And you're constantly monitored by medical staff.Afterwards, to fully wake up, you stay an hour or so at the facility. Then you go home, knowing you did the right thing for yourself and your loved ones.
Every man and woman after the age of 50 should schedule the first screening for polyps and cancer.
You may be older than that. After all, this website is serving baby boomers and seniors.
I urge you to have the screening done as soon as possible.
Even if you are a healthy older adult with no bowel problems or bleeding.
After that, according to the American Cancer Society's guidelines, follow-up colonoscopies should be done every 10 years.
Given the fact that today there are excellent preparatory medications (to clear out the intestines prior to the colonoscopy procedure) available - I highly recommend this be done more frequently.
Even though it may take years for tumors and cancer of the colon to develop, I see no reason to wait a decade between visits to the gastroenterologist.
The preparation for my colonoscopy procedure was EASY.
Because it was so highly recommended (#1 in Canada), I
chose a bowel prep kit with something called Pico-Salax.
Since it was not on the insurance company's formulary, I had to pay for it myself. It cost much less than what the insurance company would have covered for the approved meds. Go figure.
But hey, like I said, it was easy. I had to drink a much smaller volume of medicine than some of the other stuff requires. It even tasted good…
For a few days, I made sure I didn't consume food items that would make the colonoscopy procedure more difficult. The last day or so I took the bowel prep to clean out my system.
According to my gastroenterologist it was a job WELL DONE.
Please, make sure you do as your doctor tells you.
A word on risks of colonoscopy.
Talk to your doctor. I personally consider the risk so miniscule that foregoing the procedure is NEVER an option for me.
On the other hand, the risk of losing your life to cancer (including colon cancer) is so much greater.
Cancer is the number 2 of the 15 leading causes of death in America. Now, that scares me.
I'll be happy to answer any other questions you may have regarding the colonoscopy procedure. Simply contact me by clicking here.
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