What is a Colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a test that looks at the inner lining of the large intestine and rectum. It is used to determine if there are any polyps or growths in the tissue that line the inner surface. It is considered a cancer screening process for early cancer detection. (84)
A small tube-like instrument with a strong light source is inserted into the rectum. At the end of the instrument is a camera that sends images back to a monitor. If a small polyp is found, it can be removed with a special instrument during the exam. Sometimes a tiny sample of your colon is snipped and sent to a lab for testing.(84) You will likely be sedated for this procedure.
There are various ways you can prepare for a colonoscopy. Your doctor should recommend a specific method for you.
This may include:
- Follow a special diet for a day
- Take a laxative
- Use an enema
Watch this video to see what happens during a colonoscopy screening.
Based on personal family history, the founders of Spotting Cancer Corporation agree that routine colonoscopies should start no later than age 40 to 45, but strongly suggest that you consult your medical team as to when you should have YOUR first colonoscopy. Your family health and dietary history, plus any impact of the environment you live in, will influence this decision, often resulting in a recommendation for initial colonoscopy occurring well under the age of 50.
A colonoscopy may also be scheduled for a diagnostic reason, such as:
- Blood in stool
- Chronic diarrhea
- Sudden weight loss
- Long-term belly pain