Colonoscopy: What to Expect

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Colonoscopy is a remarkable tool. It can find cancer inside your colon or rectum. But it can also find polyps before they have a chance to become cancer. You might need a colonoscopy for other reasons.

Why Is a Colonoscopy Done?

colonoscopy examines the entire large intestine. Doctors use it to look for:

  • Inflammation
  • Bleeding
  • Ulcers
  • Abnormal growths, such as polyps or cancer

The doctor uses a colonoscope: a small, lighted camera inside a soft, flexible tube. The procedure usually lasts from 30 minutes to an hour.  

The procedure can:

  • Detect and treat colon cancer or colon polyps
  • Take tissue samples for testing
  • Stop intestinal bleeding
  • Monitor inflammatory bowel disease treatment

What Happens During a Colonoscopy Procedure

You'll be under anesthesia. So you won't be awake. You'll lie on your left side. The doctor will insert the colonoscope through your rectum, inject air, then gently pass the scope through your colon.

The doctor will then:

  • Examine the lining of the colon 
  • Remove tissue samples or polyps, if necessary

Polyp Removal: Stops Cancer Before It Starts

During a colonoscopy, a doctor can snip off polyps.

Larger polyps may require a minimally invasive surgical procedure. 

Your polyps are then sent to a lab for testing. The results will show if this type of polyp could have turned into cancer.

If cancer is found, you'll have top-rated colon cancer experts on your side.