Colonoscopies are safe procedures that provide valuable information about the health of your colon (lower intestine). During a colonoscopy, your gastroenterologist can thoroughly examine your colon, spotting abnormal growths or polyps that could be cancerous.
What is a High-Quality Colonoscopy?
Not all colonoscopies are created equal. A high-quality colonoscopy meets specific quality indicators that provide better outcomes for patients. To provide high-quality colonoscopies, a gastroenterologist must:
- Have a high detection rate of polyps
- Examine the entire colon
- Provide colonoscopies for the right reasons
- Help patients prepare well
- Have a low rate of perforation of the bowel
The American Cancer Society recommends that everyone undergo a high-quality colonoscopy at age 45 because it offers so many benefits to patients, including:
Highly Reliable Cancer Screening
Colonoscopies are by far the best screening tool we have for colon cancer. Colon cancer often shows no symptoms until it is already in later stages, when it may have spread to other areas of your body. That’s what makes a high-quality colonoscopy so important; it allows your gastroenterologist to detect cancer early when it is more treatable.
Minimally Invasive Early Cancer Treatment
Colonoscopies are unique among cancer screenings because they actually allow your physician to treat cancer, too. During your colonoscopy, your physician can use specialized tools to remove polyps. Colon polyps are often early stage cancer or even precancerous. By removing these polyps, your doctor can prevent cancer from forming.
While a colonoscopy may not feel minimally invasive, it does not require any incisions like colon surgery to remove larger cancers. It also requires very little recovery time and has fewer risks than surgery.
Peace of Mind
One in 20 Americans will develop colon cancer. A colonoscopy at age 45 helps you have peace of mind that you do not have colon cancer or precancerous polyps. If your colonoscopy is clear, you can wait 10 years before having another one at age 55.
When you undergo a high-quality colonoscopy with an expert gastroenterologist, you can feel confident that your physician has taken their time to carefully examine your colon. While screening colonoscopies are most often used to detect cancer, they can also detect diverticulitis, colitis and other gastrointestinal issues that may cause pain. After your colonoscopy, you can feel confident that you have good digestive health.
Virginia Gastroenterology provides thorough, high-quality care to every patient. For more information or to schedule your colonoscopy, please call (757) 942-2566.