Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday dear FIF-TEEEEE…
Time for a COLONOSCO-PEEEEE
that could save your life. Colon cancer is the second leading cause of
cancer-related deaths (50,000 per year) in men and women. And it is
believed that 60 percent of those deaths could be prevented with early
screening and appropriate treatment! Colonoscopies allow for
precancerous lesions, known as polyps, to be removed before they
develop into cancer. And, we all know that when cancer is found early,
hopes for a cure and survival improve.
What is a colonoscopy?
A procedure that allows your gastroenterologist doctor to look at the
inner lining of your rectum and colon. They use a special device to
visualize polyps, tumors, and areas of inflammation or bleeding.
Tissue samples can be biopsied (collected) and abnormal growths such
as polyps can be removed.
At what age should I have my first colonoscopy
Regular colonoscopy screenings in people without risk factors should
begin at age 50 and age 45 in African Americans. If risk factors are
present, discuss with your doctor if you should begin screening at an
earlier age. Risk factors include: a personal history of colon cancer
or polyps, a personal history of ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s
disease, a family history of colon cancer or polyps, or certain
hereditary polyp syndromes.
Am I one and done?
No. We do not celebrate our birthday only once; but, fortunately, we
do not perform colonoscopies yearly. Repeat surveillance in those with
a negative test is every 7-10 years until the age of 75. In those with
abnormal tests it needs to be repeated more frequently.
What do I need to do to prepare for my colonoscopy?
Prior to any party, preparation needs to take place. Your colonoscopy
will be more accurate if your gastroenterologist can clearly see the
inside lining of the intestines. Cleaning out the colon before the
colonoscopy involves a “prep” that takes 1-2 days, depending on the
type your doctor recommends. The prep causes loose and frequent stools
or diarrhea in order to empty your colon. Although that sounds
inconvenient, missing polyps or lesions can be the real party
How long does the colonoscopy procedure take?
The procedure typically takes between 15-60 minutes depending on what
the gastroenterologist finds.
What should I expect on the day of the colonoscopy?
Prior to your colonoscopy, intravenous fluids are started to provide
hydration and allow for sedative medications to be administered. You
will be placed on monitors that continuously display your heart rate
and rhythm, blood pressure, and oxygen levels. And instead of a
birthday party hat, you will receive a mask or nasal cannula that
delivers supplemental oxygen.
What happens during a colonoscopy?
If polyps or a mass is seen, a biopsy is taken and sent to a
laboratory for examination under a microscope by a pathologist.
Additionally, because polyps can become cancerous, removing them can
prevent colon cancer. Although it may sound uncomfortable, biopsies
are typically painless.
What happens after the colonoscopy?
Because sedation is administered, you will need to remain in an
observation area for 45 minutes to 2 hours while the effects of
medications have had the opportunity to wear off. As with drinking and
driving, which is a no-no, a “designated driver” must be appointed to
take you home. The medications given for sedation can impair reflexes
Knowing what to expect during a colonoscopy can hopefully debunk some
of the myths we hear about it. And although not quite as fun as your
50th birthday party, having the procedure may be the key to enjoying
many more birthdays down the road. All joking aside, staying colon
cancer-free not only includes screenings, but also maintaining
communication with your doctor. Inform your doctor if you experience
changes in your bowel habits, abdominal pain, or weight loss. Feliz