This is How a Colonoscopy Can Prevent Colon Cancer

Colon or colorectal cancer is a common cancer affecting both men and women. Estimates show about 101,420 new colon cancer cases and 44,180 new cases of rectal cancer for 2019 in the United States. 2018 saw about 1.8 million new cases globally, with more of them occurring in more developed countries. It continues to affect more people but prevention is always best.

The best way to find out about colon cancer is a colonoscopy, which is a physical exam used to check for any abnormalities or changes in the colon and rectum. Doctors recommend getting a colonoscopy from between 45 and 50 years and here is how and why:

  • A colonoscopy involves inserting a long flexible tube that has a tiny video camera attached to the end of the tube into the rectum. The tube, known as a colonoscope, allows the doctor a good view of the inside of the colon. It enables the doctor to pick up anything that looks unusual.
  • Colon cancer begins with the formation of growths, known as polyps, in the colon. These growths do not always become cancerous but in the event that they do, they can cause the cancer to spread to other parts of the body. A colonoscopy involves the removal of any polyps. The doctor will also take samples collected for biopsy to determine whether they are cancerous or not.
  • If an individual goes for a colonoscopy in the recommended time frame and schedules follow-ups as instructed by the doctor, it becomes easier to catch any cancer before it spreads. Discovering cancer in its early stages offers patients a better chance for effective treatment and cure. Where there are benign polyps, the doctors will remove them to prevent them from growing further and turning cancerous.

Colonoscopy is a very effective form of colon cancer prevention since it gives tangible information about what is going on in the colon. The procedure is relatively painless and takes about 30 minutes at most, making it worth looking into.    

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