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Colonoscopy

Written By northidahodpc

Colonoscopy

April 10, 2012

Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer in the United States.  These cancers usually start from small precancerous growths called polyps, which slowly grow and develop into cancer.  The use of screening colonoscopy has significantly decreased the death rate from this disease in patients who utilize this preventative test.  Colonoscopy looks at the entire wall of the colon (see picture), rectum and far end of the small intestine for abnormalities while the patient is asleep.  If polyps are found, all but the largest ones are removed at the time of the colonoscopy.  Larger masses such as cancerous tumors are typically biopsied, as are other areas of abnormality such as ulcers and inflammation.  If precancerous polyps are removed, a follow up colonoscopy is usually recommended 3 to 5 years later to see if new polyps have developed.  Patients with a biopsy diagnosis of colon cancer are sent for surgical removal, with follow up chemotherapy and/or radiation treatment depending on a number of factors.  Colonoscopy is usually recommended starting at age 50 for the average risk individual.  Earlier testing is reserved for those patients who have a strong family history of colon polyps or colon cancer, who have concerning symptoms such as rectal bleeding or significant change in bowel habits or those with a personal history of Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis…..Richard R Samuel, MD     Family Practice and Urgent Care   Hayden, ID  USA

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