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We get it — just hearing the word “colonoscopy” gives you the jitters. Your tummy may tumble thinking about the procedure, but this lifesaving measure is worth any brief discomfort it may bring.
A colonoscopy is part of the screening process for colorectal cancer, a typically slow-growing cancer that may not present symptoms until it’s progressed to a later stage.
During a colonoscopy, an internal examination of your colon (large intestine) and rectum is done using a colonoscope. The colonoscope has a small camera attached to a flexible tube that examines and takes pictures of the inside of your colon.
By examining your colon, your doctor can look for ulcers, polyps, tumors or areas of inflammation. If precancerous polyps are found, they can often be removed early before having a chance to spread.
When it comes to preventing and detecting colon cancer, no screening option is more effective than a colonoscopy. The advancements in technology have also made this procedure more comfortable. Preparing for a colonoscopy is often the most difficult part.
Here are some tips to ease those colonoscopy jitters:
Next thing you know, you’ve conquered a colonoscopy. Take care of your body and your health — a few uncomfortable hours is worth it to help you continue to live a happy and healthy life.
Not sure where to start? Check out our step-by-step guide for getting a colonoscopy.
Learn what to expect before, during and after the procedure.
Are you at risk for colon cancer? Take the ColonAware Risk Assessment to find out.
March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month. Did you know that colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States and, if found early, 90% of patients are cancer-free five years later? Join us for a Webinar: Knock out colon cancer at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 23, as Dr. Karen Ma, gastroenterologist with Elmhurst Clinic and on staff at Elmhurst Hospital, discusses the facts about colon cancer risks, symptoms and screening options. Register now.
Matthew Siegel, M.D. is a medical oncologist with Edward-Elmhurst Health.
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