Colon cancer screening is the best way to examine a patient for colon cancer, as it is also a preventive solution if the gastroenterologist finds and removes any precancerous polyps from your colon. Many people are resistant to having a colonoscopy because of the preparatory stage they must undergo before the screening – the colon needs to be cleared and cleaned so the gastroenterologist who is administering the screening can properly observe the entire colon.
The good news is that what used to be a multi-day preparation is now only one day. Let’s talk about what is involved in the prep for a colon cancer screening, and where you can go in Cuyahoga County and Greater Cleveland for a reliable gastroenterologist who can help you prevent colon cancer and colorectal cancer.
What Do I Need to Do Before a Colon Cancer Screening?
Your gastroenterologist will give you specific recommendations and a prescription, but here are the general steps you can expect when preparing for a colon cancer screening:
Step 1: Preparation
The best way to know exactly how you should prepare for a colonoscopy (or any other type of colon cancer screening) is to get advice from your gastroenterologist. The doctor will help you understand the preparation and the actual process upon scheduling the procedure. Then, you will get instructions.
Carefully read all of the instructions, and call the doctor’s office if something is unclear. Do this before your screening.
Buy all necessary supplies several days ahead. These will likely include:
- Light-colored sports drinks like Gatorade (not red or purple in color)
- Ginger ale and Sprite
- Apple juice, white grape juice, and lemonade without pulp
- Jell-O (not red or purple)
- Coffee and tea (without milk or cream, but sugar/sweetener is fine because it dissolves)
- Moist wipes
- Moisturizing cream, such as Desitin (to keep the area moisturized when necessary)
Step 2: Change Your Diet
If you’d like the preparation day to be as easy as possible, you can facilitate the colon-cleansing process by consuming light foods three to four days before the screening. Foods that are low in fiber are easy to digest and leave your system fast; doctors recommend eating these foods.
You can have:
- White bread, white pasta, and white rice
- Pancakes and bagels
- Low-fiber cereal
- Canned vegetables
- Fresh vegetables that are well-cooked
- Potatoes without the skin
- Dairy products
Try to avoid these foods during this prep phase for your colon cancer screening:
- Seeds, nuts, and popcorn
- Fatty, greasy foods
- Tough meat
- Whole grains
- Raw vegetables
- Fruit with seeds or peels
- Corn, broccoli, cabbage, beans, and peas
Inquire with your gastroenterologist about whether or when you should stop taking vitamins or prescription medicines before the screening. Also, tell the doctor if you have been taking any anti-inflammatory or blood-thinning drugs.
Step 3: Fast as Directed by Your Gastroenterologist
Anything solid should not be eaten the day before the colon cancer screening. Do not consume liquids or Jell-O with food coloring that is red, blue, or purple, because this can cause discoloration in the colon lining – thereby making it hard for your gastroenterologist to fully examine your colon.
Ask your doctor for the specific hours you need to stop consuming anything before the procedure. Usually, it is about four or five hours.
Step 4: Take the Prescribed Laxative
Your gastroenterologist will prescribe you with a strong laxative to empty your digestive tract, and this will start on the evening prior to your colon cancer screening. You may drink your clear beverages of choice along with the laxative to help with the taste in your mouth.
You may try these tips to easily consume the laxative:
- Drink the liquid laxative using a straw placed far back on your tongue.
- Follow each sip of the laxative with a sip of a clear drink that tastes good.
- Do not force yourself to drink the laxative too quickly.
- Suck on a piece of clear hard candy after drinking the laxative.
The result of taking the laxative is frequent, forceful diarrhea. You may experience bloating and cramps. Be sure to be near a bathroom during this time – ask your family or roommates to use a different bathroom. When the colonoscopy is over, everything will be back to normal.
Your prescribed liquid laxative will likely be in two doses. You will take the first dose the night before your colonoscopy or colon cancer screening, and you will take the second dose early in the morning before the screening.
Do not give yourself added laxatives. This will not be necessary, and it will not help. The prescription laxative will suffice.
Trusted Colon Cancer Screening in Brooklyn and Westlake, OH
Colon cancer screening comes with an inconvenient preparatory stage, but the result can save your life. With the help of experienced gastroenterologists, your whole experience will be a lot easier.
North Shore Gastroenterology specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of gastrointestinal disorders, including colon cancer. We have dedicated health practitioners who have specialized training and advanced technology to treat you best.
Call our office today for a colon cancer screening appointment at (440) 808-1212 or request your appointment by filling out our online form. Let us help you prevent colon cancer!