When most people hear the word colonoscopy, they have a negative reaction. They think that it will be uncomfortable and embarrassing. But the important thing to keep in mind is that a colonoscopy can save your life. Dr. Geoffrey L. Braden at G.I. Specialists of Northeast Philadelphia is here to help put you at ease.
For most people, beginning at the age of 50 you should have a screening colonoscopy every ten years. For some people who have certain risk factors, such as a close relative who has colon cancer, a screening colonoscopy should be performed more often. You and your doctor can make that determination. It is essential to know though that everyone is at risk for colorectal cancer and should be screened regularly.
What is a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy visualizes the entire length of the colon. A thin, flexible, lighted tube with a video camera on the end is passed through the rectum and allows the G.I. specialist to inspect the entire colon. If something is seen that needs to be removed or biopsied, the G.I. specialist can do that right then.
A polyp is an abnormal growth in the lining of your colon or rectum. The G.I. specialist may find and remove a polyp during the colonoscopy. Most polyps are not cancer when they are removed; however, a polyp left in the colon could potentially turn into cancer in five to ten years, making screening colonoscopies very crucial.
Colon cancer is the third most common cancer diagnoses in the United States in both men and women. The sooner the cancerous polyp is removed, the earlier you can start treatment. Also, when colon cancer is found in the early stages, the disease is easier to cure. This is another reason why getting regular screening colonoscopies is so critical.
Polyps are not the only thing that can be found during a colonoscopy. The G.I. specialist may find diverticulosis, hemorrhoids, anal fissures, or different types of colitis. Once these conditions are diagnosed, the G.I. specialist can then begin to treat you properly to alleviate any symptoms you may be having.
What You Should Do
If you are over 50 and have yet to have your first colonoscopy, please do not delay any longer in getting this important screening performed. Please contact Dr. Braden at (610) 664-9700 at the G.I. Specialists Bala Cynwyd office in Northeast Philadelphia to set up an appointment today. It just might save your life!