So your doctor wants you to have a colonoscopy? Ok, you probably either know what a screening colonoscopy is or you’ve heard stories about the procedure and the prep. But colonoscopies are nowhere near as bad as you might think.
Sure, none of us likes doctors poking and prodding our bodies, but undergoing colonoscopy procedures are painless and could save your life. Let me repeat: it is painless, and could be a life-saver. In Australia, colorectal cancer is one of the ten most common cancers in men and women, so talk to your GP about a colonoscopy if you may have risk factors or are prone to develop colon cancer or have the following symptoms or situations:
- Older than 45
- Older than 40 with a family member diagnosed with bowel cancer or a family history of colon cancer or colon polyps
- Experiencing rectal bleeding or abdominal pain, or a change in your bowel habits no matter what your age
There’s no reason to avoid this quick, painless, possibly life saving procedure and you can have it right here in Melbourne at Direct Endoscopy.
Colon Cancer (Colorectal Cancer)
Other symptoms of colon cancer can include constipation, a feeling that your bowel isn’t emptying everything, blood in your stool, persistent cramps or flatulence. Also be aware that other symptoms may be pencil thin stools, sudden and unexplained weight loss, fatigue and weakness. Unfortunately, these symptoms usually indicate that the cancer is well advanced.
About the Pre Colonoscopy Bowel Preparation
The bowel prep involves cleaning out your colon with a liquid laxative that you simply drink the night before the procedure. While it might not taste the best or sound like fun, you need a clean colon so the doctors can see the bowel wall and see any abnormalities.
The Colonoscopy Procedure
During your colonoscopy, your gastroenterologist needs to see inside the entire length of your colon and rectum. To do this the doctor uses a hollow, flexible tube about as thick as a pen with a tiny video camera and light at the tip, gently pushes it into your entire colon. The camera sends the video to the screen as it proceeds and small amounts of air are pumped into your colon to keep it open. If the doctor sees any abnormal tissue, then tissue samples may also be taken. Most polyps are benign.
The procedure is the most accurate test designed to find small growths or polyps on the colon wall. These can be benign but can become cancerous over time. If any are found during the colonoscopy, the doctor may remove polyps for investigation. The test takes about 30 minutes.
The National Cancer Institute: Colon Cancer
Bowel cancer is also called colorectal cancer, colon cancer and rectal cancer. This disease may cause a blockage or narrowing of the bowel or bleeding. In advanced cases of colon cancer, the disease can metastasise or spread to other organs or parts of the body and cause secondary disease.
According to the Australian Government’s National Bowel Cancer Institute, colorectal cancer is one of the ten most common cancers in men and women in this country. Content on the website explains that the bowel is included as part of your body’s digestive system with the small bowel also called the small intestine, and the large bowel also called the large intestine or colon. The rectum and the anal canal are also part of the colon.
Colon Cancer Screening
A colonoscopy can find other bowel conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, and diverticulosis. But doctors mainly search for cancerous or precancerous polyps on the inside of the bowel wall or lining.
Apart from colonoscopies, the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program to detect the early signs of the disease aims to lessen the number of deaths from colorectal cancer. Australians from age 50 to 74 receive by post a simple, free test of their faeces which is done at home (FOBT). FOBT is not as sensitive or accurate as colonoscopy but is used widely as a screening population test.
Bowel Screening Melbourne
The expert gastroenterologists at Direct Endoscopy in Melbourne have performed more than 500,000 endoscopic procedures in the past 20 years. We are the premium providers of colonoscopy, gastroscopy and capsule endoscopy services here in Melbourne. We offer treatments in all areas of bowel cancer prevention, digestive health, treatment for liver diseases, IBD and more. Our doctors deliver the highest standard of gastroenterology and endoscopy.
Call us today on 9781 5959 or take the following steps:
- Print Referral Form & take it to your doctor
- Call us on 9781 5959 to make an appointment
- Click here to read the Appointments Page
- When to Get a Colonoscopy, Why You Need One, & How It All Works - November 22, 2021
- Why Your Doctor Wants You to Get a Colonoscopy - October 12, 2021
- Why Australia’s Bowel Cancer Screening Age Should Be Lowered to 40 - July 23, 2021