We understand no one is eager to get a colonoscopy, but it could save your life! Colorectal cancer is 90% preventable which is why, at Central Maine Healthcare, we’re committed to making the process as easy and convenient as possible so more people will get tested.
What is a Colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a test to view the inside of the rectum and colon, all of the large bowel and the lower part of the small intestine.
This routine exam is usually done as an outpatient procedure and is administered by a trained gastroenterologist or surgeon using a colonoscope. A colonoscope is a long, thin, flexible tube with tiny camera and light on one end that relays information to a video monitor.
Why Get a Colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a safe and effective way to monitor gastrointestinal (GI) health and to check for diseases of the colon.
Currently, a colonoscopy is the best defense against colorectal cancer as the most helpful tool in early detection.
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., and is the third most common cancer in both men and women. Early detection through a colonoscopy could save your life.
Polyps are small growths on the inside wall of the rectum or colon that may become cancerous, removal of these during colonoscopy can actually prevent the polyps from becoming cancer.
A colonoscopy is also done to find irregularities in the intestines, or to further look for microscopic evidence of disease through a biopsy taken during the procedure or to treat GI issues.
When Should I Get a Colonoscopy?
The American Cancer Society recommends that people at average risk for colorectal cancer begin regular screening at age 45. If you have a family history of colon cancer, screenings should start earlier. Talk to your doctor about when to start regular screenings if you have a family history of colon cancer.
Colorectal Cancer Symptoms
You should also ask your doctor about a colonoscopy if you’ve experienced any of the following:
- Blood present in stool
- Change in bowel habits
- Prolonged rectal pain
- Prolonged stomach pain
- Inflamed colon as determined by a CT (computerized tomography) scan
Additional Colorectal Cancer Screenings
Colonoscopy is considered the gold standard in colorectal cancer screening, but we also perform other standard tests to help detect polyps and signs of cancer:
- Fecal Occult Blood Test: This test, recommended annually, looks for blood in the stool. Polyps bleed more than normal tissue and these tiny amounts of blood can be detected by a test called hemocult.
- Flexible Sigmoidoscopy: This exam, recommended every five years, evaluates the lower section of the colon and rectum, where most polyps and cancers are located.
Find a Colorectal Cancer Specialist Near You
- Central Maine Medical Center
- Bridgton Hospital
- Rumford Hospital