Colonoscopy checklist

What you need to know

Did you know that colon cancer is the second leading cancer killer? The good news is you may be able to prevent it. Colon cancer is the most preventable cancer – when it’s caught early, and in almost all cases, early diagnosis can lead to a complete cure. The best way to detect colon cancer in its earliest and most treatable stage? Colonoscopy.

Here’s what you should know:

  • African-American men and women age 45 and older should be tested even if they have no family of personal history of colon cancer.
  • All others should be tested for colon cancer beginning at age 50 or sooner if recommended by their physician.
  • Anyone with a family or personal history of colorectal cancer, polyps, inflammatory bowel disease or other bowel disorders should be tested. Check with your doctor to see if you have an increased risk.
  • Anyone with symptoms that include blood in stool, abdominal discomfort, pain, bloating, change in bowel habits, iron deficiency anemia or unexplained weight loss should be tested.
  • To prepare for your colonoscopy, carefully follow the dietary and laxative instructions provided by your doctor. If you have questions, call your doctor for information. There are several choices of laxatives; ask which one is best for you.
  • You will need to arrive in the outpatient endoscopy area one hour before your scheduled colonoscopy. Be sure to bring a driver, as the medicine you receive to make you comfortable during the test could make you drowsy afterward.
  • During the test, a flexible tube with a camera will be inserted through the rectum and into the colon. After the test, you may have gas or bloating, but these symptoms will go away.
  • Most people are at the hospital for about 4 hours for this test. You can return to normal activities the next day.
  • If polyps are found in the colon, the tissue will be removed and sent for testing. You doctor will let you know if polyps were present and will share the test results with you. It may take 7-10 days for test results to be available.
  • Before sheduling your procedure, check your plan coverage to be sure the colonoscopy is covered.

For more information or to schedule a colonoscopy, call (502) 629-1234 or visit our Find a Doc.


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