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The Importance of Getting a Colonoscopy

The Importance of Getting a Colonoscopy

You may think of a colonoscopy as an inconvenient, uncomfortable test that involves a lot of prep and impersonal examination. While the screening isn’t really something to look forward to, it’s an essential part of your preventive health care.

A colonoscopy examines the lining of your entire colon. It identifies cancerous or potentially precancerous small growths called polyps. As a result, a colonoscopy provides early detection and treatment of colorectal cancer, which causes the death of more than 52,000 people in the United States every year. 

When caught early, colorectal cancer is very treatable. This is why you should make it a priority to get a colonoscopy. 

Our board-certified gastroenterologist at GastroDoxs, Dr. Bharat Pothuri, performs regular colonoscopies, and he can put you on a screening schedule that is best for your particular circumstances. People who have a personal or family history of colon cancer are at a greater risk of developing the disease and may need more frequent screenings. 

Here’s what to expect during a colonoscopy, when to consider getting one, and even more reasons why you should contact our office in Cypress, Texas, to set up an appointment.

A colonoscopy means early detection

If you wait until you have symptoms of cancer, the disease has most likely already progressed and may have affected other organs. A colonoscopy catches the disease early, before it has the chance to create serious medical complications. 

A colonoscopy can offer treatment

Not only can Dr. Pothuri identify polyps during a colonoscopy, he can also remove them. These polyps grow on the inner wall of the colon and rectum. Although the majority of polyps are benign, some are clearly suspicious. When removed during a colonoscopy, they never get the chance to turn into cancer.

When to have a colonoscopy

People with an average risk of colon cancer should start regular screenings around age 45-50. Average risk means you have no personal or family history of the disease. You should also have no history of inflammatory bowel disease or radiation to the belly or pelvic area. These screenings should be repeated every 5-10 years. 

Dr. Pothuri may recommend earlier and more frequent screenings if you have a strong family or personal history of colorectal cancer or abnormal polyps. Inflammatory bowel disease raises your risk, too, as does radiation treatment to the abdomen or pelvis to treat another type of cancer. 

If you have certain suspicious symptoms, Dr. Pothuri may also recommend a colonoscopy. These include rectal bleeding, changes in bowel habits, or unexplained anemia. 

The colonoscopy process

In the day or two leading up to your procedure, we’ll ask you to limit certain medications and foods. One day prior, you drink only clear liquids and take a special preparatory laxative to clear out your colon. 

During the procedure, you’re placed under moderate sedation so you don’t feel or remember much about the actual procedure. You will need a driver to transport you home.

The colonoscopy itself lasts 30-60 minutes and involves placing a colonoscope through your rectum into your colon. This long, flexible instrument transmits images to Dr. Pothuri so he can detect any abnormalities. 

If you’re due for a colonoscopy, call GastroDoxs, and we can get you scheduled. Call the office today or use our online tool to request an appointment.

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