Your digestive system is responsible for breaking down food, absorbing nutrients and ridding your body of waste. The digestive system starts in your mouth and runs from your esophagus to your stomach to your intestines to your anus — i.e., your gastrointestinal, or GI, tract. Your liver, pancreas and gallbladder are also part of the digestive system. When one part stops working the way it’s supposed to, ripple effects often occur throughout the digestive system.
We are committed to collaborative, multidisciplinary care, which means you’ll work with a gastroenterologist, your primary care provider and other specialists, as necessary, to receive the most effective management.
Early Detection of Colon Cancer
Why get screened for colon cancer?
Screening may find diseases at an early stage, when a doctor has a better chance of treating or preventing the disease. The American College of Gastroenterology recommends screening for colon cancer:
- at age 40 for any person with a first degree relative with colon cancer.
- at age 45 for African Americans because they have an increased risk of developing the disease.
- at age 45 for people who are not at increased risk of the disease.
What is a colonoscopy?
Colonoscopy is a procedure that uses a long, flexible, narrow tube with a light and tiny camera on one end, called a colonoscope or scope, to look inside the rectum and entire colon. Colonoscopy can show abnormalities of the lining of the large intestine.
Why is a colonoscopy performed?
Some of the reasons a colonoscopy may be performed include but are not limited to:
- screening for colon cancer
- changes in bowel habits
- abdominal pain
- bleeding from the anus
- unexplained weight loss
- a family history of colon cancer
Preparing for a colonoscopy:
Be sure your doctor knows about any medicines you are taking. You might need to change how you take them before the test.
Your doctor will give you specific instructions. It’s important to read these carefully a few days ahead of time, since you may need to follow a special diet for at least a day before the test and to shop for supplies. If you’re not sure about any of the instructions, call the doctor’s office and go over them with the nurse.
You will probably also be told not to eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your test. If you normally take prescription medicines in the mornings, talk with your doctor or nurse about how to manage them for the day.
Because a sedative is used during the test, you’ll need to arrange for someone you know to take you home from the test.