Colonoscopy is a screening procedure performed by doctors for a myriad of reasons. This medical procedure is one of the most commonly used tests used for the screening of colon cancer.
Colon cancer is caused by the uncontrolled growth of cells in the large intestine. The colon cancer cells form a tumor that invades and damages the healthy cells and tissue near it, causing complications.
Colonoscopy however is not just limited for colon cancer screening. This important procedure is also performed for:
- Determining the cause of black or dark stools
- Establishing the cause of rectal bleeding or blood in stool
- Checking the large intestine for polyps or symptoms of colorectal cancer.
- Checking the cause behind chronic diarrhea
- Determining the reason for unexplained, sudden weight loss
- Observing the progress of and treating the inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- To inspect the colon after a stool test, CT scan, barium enema, virtual colonoscopy, or MRI reveals anomalous results.
- Checking the symptoms leading to unexplained, long term pain in the belly.
- Examining the symptoms leading to iron deficiency anemia
The American College of Surgeons believes that an estimated 76% to 90% cases of colon cancer can be prevented with regular colonoscopy screening. This is one reason why, people over the age of 50 (they have an increased risk of contracting colon cancer) are suggested to get a colonoscopy procedure done once in every 10 years. In case you have a family history of colon cancer, your doctor might suggest for more frequent colonoscopy procedures.
Colonoscopy is a routine medical procedure. It usually doesn’t have any lasting impacts on the human body. However, in some rare cases there have been instances of
- A tear in the colon or rectal wall
- An adverse reaction of the sedative
- Continued bleeding from the biopsy (if it was performed)
For most people, the benefits of performing a colonoscopy and detecting the medical condition in time for treatment far outweigh the complications and risks of the colonoscopy procedure.
The procedure is invasive but important at the same time. Colonoscopy is frequently used by doctors to diagnose and treat health problems related to the large intestine. Whether colonoscopy is suitable for your condition or not is something that depends on your preferences and your doctor’s suggestion.