Colon cancer is a leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. According to the American Cancer Society, it is estimated that about 153,020 new cases of colon cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2023. However, colonoscopy procedures can help detect colon cancer at an early stage, when it is easier to treat and has a better chance of being cured.
A colonoscopy is a medical procedure that allows doctors to examine the colon (large intestine) for abnormalities and polyps, which are small growths on the lining of the colon. During the procedure, a thin, flexible tube with a camera and light source is inserted into the rectum and advanced through the colon. The doctor can then view the images on a monitor to detect any abnormalities or polyps.
Colonoscopy procedures are usually recommended for people who are at an increased risk of colon cancer due to factors such as family history, age, or a personal history of colon cancer or polyps. However, they may also be recommended for people who have symptoms such as abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, or changes in bowel movements.
The procedure itself is usually performed under sedation, so patients do not feel any pain or discomfort. However, it does require some preparation beforehand, such as a special diet and bowel cleansing to ensure that the colon is clean and free of any stool or debris that could interfere with the examination.
The benefits of colonoscopy procedures are clear. By detecting colon cancer at an early stage, when it is still localized to the colon, it can often be treated with surgery alone, which has a very high success rate. In fact, colonoscopy procedures are so effective at detecting early-stage colon cancer that the American Cancer Society recommends that people at average risk of colon cancer begin screening at age 45.
In addition to detecting colon cancer, colonoscopy procedures can also help detect and remove polyps, which can potentially develop into cancer over time. Removing these polyps during the procedure can prevent them from becoming cancerous, potentially saving a patient's life.
In conclusion, colonoscopy procedures are a vital tool for detecting colon cancer at an early stage, when it is easier to treat and has a better chance of being cured. If you are at an increased risk of colon cancer or have symptoms, talk to your doctor about whether a colonoscopy is right for you. With early detection and treatment, colon cancer can be beaten.
For more information about undergoing a colonoscopy procedure, talk to a doctor.Share