Colonoscopies Save Lives
A colonoscopy is procedure that can detect changes or abnormalities in the colon and the rectum. During a colonoscopy, the physician inserts a long, flexible tube, called a colonoscope into the rectum and moves it up through the large intestine. A tiny video camera at the tip of the tube gives doctor a view of the inside of the entire colon. The colonoscope is also equipped with tiny tools that allow the physician to remove precancerous polyps or take small samples of tissue for further study. By scheduling regular colonoscopies, you can catch colorectal cancer in its earliest, most treatable stages – and even prevent cancer by removing polyps.
Colorectal cancer almost always develops from abnormal growths in the colon or rectum called polyps. These can easily be detected during a colonoscopy. The majority of polyps found during routine colonoscopy screenings are removed during the procedure before they can develop into cancer. However, sometimes polyps are too large or complex to be removed at that time and require specialists with expertise in advanced techniques.
The Cooper gastrointestinal experts provide lifesaving colonoscopies to South Jersey residents. Our connection to the local community stretches back more than 130 years. During that time, we’ve continually provided effective treatments and tests offered by a team of renowned physicians.
Why Choose Cooper for Your Colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is one of the most effective ways to prevent or identify colorectal cancer. The sooner these abnormal polyps are identified, the more effective your treatment will be. It is recommended that average-risk men and women begin testing at age 45.
- If you have a family history of premature colorectal cancer or a history of family cancer syndromes, you may be a high-risk patient. Colonoscopy for these patients may be recommended at an earlier age. Consult with your physician to determine the timing that is right for you.
Most colonoscopies are covered by insurance. For men and women without insurance or who are underinsured, free colonoscopies are available through our cancer outreach and screening program.
Prepping for a Colonoscopy
Your colon has to be empty and clean to ensure our physicians have high visibility during your colonoscopy screening. You’ll receive clear, specific instructions from your doctor ahead of time so you know exactly what to do.
If you have additional questions throughout the preparation process, one of our nurses will go over specifics with you. Our open lines of communication ensure you’re ready and prepared for what comes next.
During the Procedure
Colonoscopies are brief, taking just 30 minutes or so. At the start, you’ll be given a sedative, which will allow you to sleep through the entire process.
After you are sedated, a thin, flexible tube is inserted to navigate the inner walls of the colon. The goal is to identify small polyps that can eventually turn into cancer. If polyps are seen, they are removed.
After the procedure you may still feel quite groggy from the sedative, you will need to arrange safe transportation home ahead of time.
Will there be side effects afterwards?
You may feel some slight bloating, cramping, or gas pains immediately after the colonoscopy. These mild pains come from the air that is pumped into your colon during the procedure. If a polyp was removed or a biopsy was performed during your colonoscopy, you might notice traces of blood in your stool for a day or two afterwards.
It is extremely rare for serious bleeding to occur, but if you do experience heavier bleeding, you should contact your physician immediately.
Other Forms of Colon Cancer Screening
While colonoscopies are considered the gold standard for the early identification of colon cancer, there are alternative procedures that can also be effective. If you want to explore other options, some of the most common include:
- Stool tests for blood (FIT)
- Barium enemas (X-ray)
- Stool DNA tests (Cologuard)®
- CT colonography
Talk to your doctor about the best test for you.