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  • A colonoscopy has two main purposes:

  • One purpose is to check on certain symptoms

  • or conditions that your doctor would be concerned about.

  • The second purpose is to screen

  • your colon for colorectal cancer.

  • A colonoscopy can be used to see problems

  • in the colon in patients who have

  • a variety of serious symptoms.

  • Some of these symptoms can include:

  • - chronic diarrhea or unexplained changes in your bowel habits;

  • - bleeding from your rectum or anus;

  • - unexpected weight loss;

  • - iron deficiency anemia;

  • - or other symptoms.

  • If you show signs of any of these symptoms

  • you should talk to your doctor.

  • Colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the US.

  • Colonoscopies have proven to significantly decrease

  • the incidence of colorectal cancer.

  • If the lining of your colon contains polyps

  • there is a chance that these small growths of tissue

  • can turn into cancer.

  • A colonoscopy makes it very easy for your doctor to find

  • and remove these polyps early on

  • before they have a chance to become cancer.

  • During your colonoscopy,

  • your doctor will be able to remove polyps easily

  • using specialized tools.

  • These tools operate by cutting off polyps

  • from the lining of the colon wall

  • and removing them safely.

  • Removal of polyps is painless

  • since there are no nerves in the lining of the colon.

  • After a polyp is removed from your colon

  • it is sent to a lab for analysis by a trained doctor,

  • called a pathologist.

  • The lab results are very important

  • as they will inform you about

  • whether the tissue sample is benign (i.e., not cancerous)

  • or pre-cancerous.

  • If the tissue sample is pre-cancerous

  • you will need to meet with your doctor again.

  • There are two main categories of patient risk:

  • "Average" risk and "Increased" risk.

  • It is very important for you to understand

  • which category of risk you belong to.

  • If you are a healthy male or female,

  • age 50 or older,

  • you are considered to be an average risk patient.

  • In this category, it is recommended

  • that you get a screening colonoscopy

  • when you turn 50

  • since 90% of colon cancers occur after this age.

  • If the results from your previous colonoscopy return normal,

  • your next one can be done in another 10 years.

  • As long as no abnormal results are found along the way,

  • the same schedule can be followed up

  • until you are 75 years old.

  • A screening colonoscopy is the most useful test

  • for the detection of colon cancer.

  • However, your doctor may suggest a different test for you

  • depending on your own medical circumstance.

  • These other tests can be divided into three groups:

  • "stool based",

  • "direct visualization",

  • and "radiological".

  • Stool based tests include the guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT),

  • fecal immunochemical test (FIT),

  • and stool DNA test.

  • Other test options include a flexible sigmoidoscopy,

  • which is an example of a direct visualization test.

  • A computed tomographic colonoscopy

  • is an example of a radiological test.

  • It is important to know that you will be asked

  • to have a complete colonoscopy

  • if any of these other tests are positive for cancer.

  • If you are in the group of patients

  • considered to have an "increased" risk of colon cancer,

  • it is suggested that you get a screening colonoscopy

  • before you reach 50 years old.

  • If you are a patient who has an increased risk,

  • you may need a colonoscopy more often

  • than patients who are in theaveragerisk group.

  • Whichever group you belong to,

  • a colonoscopy is a procedure

  • that should be done several times

  • over your lifetime because polyps can reappear.

  • Depending on the types of polyps found in your colon,

  • some types have a higher chance of turning into cancer than others.

  • Hyperplastic polyps are a benign type of polyp

  • which means that they have very little chance of turning into cancer.

  • However, they still need to be removed

  • and examined under the microscope,

  • which will determine if these polyps are hyperplastic.

  • Even if you have hyperplastic polyps,

  • it is still very important to have a colonoscopy every 10 years.

  • Unlike hyperplastic polyps,

  • adenomas are a type of polyp

  • that have the potential to become cancer.

  • If adenomas are found

  • based on your colonoscopy results,

  • you will be asked to have additional screenings done

  • at shorter intervals of time,

  • depending on the size and number of adenomas found.

  • If you have had colon cancer before,

  • it is important to tell your doctor

  • since you will have a higher risk

  • of getting colon cancer again.

  • After colon cancer treatment,

  • your doctor may recommend

  • that you get another colonoscopy.

  • Having a family history of colon cancer

  • or adenoma-type polyps before you are 60 years old,

  • means that you will need a colonoscopy sooner

  • than the typical age.

  • You may also be asked to have a colonoscopy

  • earlier than the average risk person

  • if at least two first-degree relatives

  • (i.e., parents, full-siblings, or children)

  • or second-degree relatives

  • (i.e., grandparents, grandchildren, uncles,

  • aunts, nephews, or half-siblings)

  • have had colon cancer at any age.

  • In these cases, screening may begin at 40 years of age,

  • or as early as 10 years younger

  • than when the family member was diagnosed,

  • whichever happens first.

  • Certain conditions can lead you to have

  • a higher risk of colorectal cancer.

  • These can include Lynch syndrome,

  • which is an inherited genetic condition

  • that leads to an 80% risk of colon cancer

  • over your lifetime.

  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

  • involving the colon

  • and primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC)

  • are other diseases that can increase

  • your risk of colon cancer.

  • If you have both IBD and PSC,

  • you have about a 30-fold higher risk

  • of developing colon cancer.

  • Colonoscopy is a powerful tool that your doctor can use

  • to greatly reduce and prevent your risk of colon cancer.

  • Talk to your doctor today about booking your colonoscopy.

A colonoscopy has two main purposes:

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B2 H-INT US colonoscopy colon cancer risk doctor test

When should I get a colonoscopy and what do the results mean?

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    johnsonsheu   posted on 2020/09/03
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