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In a colonoscopy procedure, a slim, flexible tube with a light and a camera is used to examine the colon (large intestine). A colonoscopy is used to look for growths called polyps on the lining of the colon.
Most polyps are harmless and have no symptoms, but some, called adenomas, can become a precursor to colon or rectal cancer. If polyps are found during a colonoscopy, they can be removed in a simple procedure, and then doctors will test to see if they’re cancerous. Knowing if the patient has polyps or adenomas will help doctors understand the patient’s risk of developing cancer.
A colonoscopy is an important method for screening for colon cancer, rectal cancer or other colorectal diseases. A colonoscopy is recommended every 10 years for people over age 50, and African-Americans over age 45. Patients who have a family history of GI cancers should have more frequent screenings.
Colorectal cancers are the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. The disease is preventable and treatable, especially when detected early.
The Loyola difference
By choosing Loyola, you partner with an academic medical center and nationally known research center. We have access to the most advanced GI treatments and procedures. This includes high-definition imaging, which lets doctors use a minimally invasive (endoscopic) approach to remove even the largest polyps. This helps many of our patients avoid surgery.
We offer Saturday endoscopies and four locations for our patients’ convenience.
Preparing for a colonoscopy
The day before the colonoscopy, you will have to have a bowel cleansing to remove stool from the colon. This allows the doctor to see clearly inside the colon. The day of the exam, you will eat nothing and drink clear liquids. A patient usually is under a light anesthetic during the procedure. After the test, your doctor will discuss the findings with you. You must arrange for someone to drive you home; you will not be allowed to do so yourself.