Colon cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the large intestine or colon, which is the very end of the digestive tract. Colon cancer is a disease that typically affects older adults, however, younger people are getting diagnosed with colon cancer at an increasing rate.
Colon cancer usually begins as benign polyps, which, over time, can become malignant. If you’re 45 or older, you should get screened for colon cancer regularly. It’s one of the most preventable cancers, yet it’s still the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States.
Here are several useful tips to help you prepare for your colon cancer screening and what you can expect afterward.
Discuss Pre-Op Instructions with Your Doctor
Colonoscopy is a safe and pain-free procedure, but it requires some prepping to ensure it is done effectively. When you schedule your colonoscopy, talk to your doctor about how to prepare for it. They will discuss the bowel prep you will need to do, which medicines to avoid leading up to the colonoscopy, and any other important considerations.
Take the Day Off from Work and Other Commitments
Most patients are able to return to normal functioning immediately after their colonoscopy. However, it is still recommended that you take the entire day off so that you can rest and not have to think about other commitments during the day. The only things you’ll want to focus on are getting to the appointment on time, getting the procedure done, discussing the results with your doctor afterward, and then enjoying a nice meal and a relaxing evening at home.
Do the Bowel Prep as Instructed
In order for a colonoscopy to be effective, it requires an empty colon through which a camera and tools can be passed without obstructions. To prepare for your colonoscopy, you will be required to do a bowel prep. This will involve going on a liquid diet for a couple of days before the colonoscopy and then drinking a special solution with water the night before and on the morning of the procedure. The solution will induce bowel movements that will empty your colon completely.
There are some variations to this process, so your instructions may differ slightly based on your GI specialist’s way of doing things.
After the Colonoscopy
After a colonoscopy, it is normal to feel tired and have some cramping in your abdomen, as your body adjusts to the effects of anesthesia. You will likely recover quickly and be able to return home within 1-2 hours after the procedure if you do not have any complications.
It is important to drink plenty of fluids and avoid strenuous activity for 24 hours after your procedures as directed by your doctor.
Signs of complications include constipation, difficulty urinating, black or bloody stools, vomiting, and abdominal tenderness – all of which should be brought to the attention of your gastroenterologist.
There are a number of different ways to get a colon cancer screening. Consult with a gastroenterologist to find out which method is best for you. Fecal occult blood tests, sigmoidoscopy, and colonoscopy are some of the most commonly used techniques to screen for colon cancer. Without a doubt, colonoscopy is the best method.
No matter which method you and your GI provider agree upon, it’s important to get screened for colon cancer regularly. This disease is highly treatable when caught early, so don’t delay in getting your screening.
Colon Cancer Screening in Westlake and Brooklyn, OH
The gastroenterologists at North Shore Gastroenterology are highly trained and experienced in the many colon cancer screening methods. Trust us with advanced procedures such as sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy, for if done by inexperienced hands, these can lead to serious complications. The last thing you want is to develop more health issues while you are trying to manage your health.
Our friendly staff of professionals provides pre- and post-op instructions and answers any questions our patients may have about GI health or colon cancer screenings. To schedule an appointment or a colon cancer screening, call our office at (440) 808-1212, or use our convenient online request form.