You Can Prevent Colon Cancer!
America’s #2 Cancer Killer is Also One of the
Most Preventable and Curable Types of Cancer

• Colonoscopy is the most powerful prevention tool in clinical medicine.

• Most people 50 years of age and older should have a screening colonoscopy every 10 years.

• Persons at high risk for colorectal cancer should begin screening with colonoscopy at age 40 or earlier.

• Patients have a 90% chance of survivial if colon cancer is caught in its initial stage, compared to 5% survival rate if the disease is detected in its final stage.

 
What is a Colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy enables the medical professional to obtain an unobstructed view of the entire lining of the colon and rectum. It is a routine outpatient procedure with little or no discomfort for the patient. A colonoscopy is commonly used to evaluate gastrointestinal symptoms, such as rectal and intestinal bleeding, abdominal pain, or changes in bowel habits. During the procedure, the physician looks for any suspicious growths, called colorectal polyps or cancer. If necessary, small amounts of tissue can be removed for analysis (a biopsy) and polyps can be identified and entirely removed. In many cases, a colonoscopy allows accurate diagnosis and treatment of colorectal problems without the need for a major operation.

At Gastrointestinal Specialists, our new state-of-the-art surgery center features advanced endoscopy equipment in 4 procedure rooms and a 12-bed holding area in the adjacent recovery center. The surgery center is located within our main office, at 80 Humphreys Center, in Memphis.

What happens before a colonoscopy?

To complete a successful colonoscopy, the bowel must be clean so that the physician can clearly view the colon. It is very important that you read and follow all of the instructions given to you because without proper preparation, the colonoscopy will not be successful and the test may have to be repeated.

What happens during a colonoscopy?

You are asked to wear a hospital gown and remove eyeglasses. You are given a pain reliever and a sedative intravenously (in your vein); you will feel relaxed and somewhat drowsy. You will lie on your side, with your knees drawn up towards your chest, then a small amount of air is used to expand the colon so the physician can see the colon walls. The entire procedure lasts from 30 minutes to one hour.

What happens after a colonoscopy?

You will stay in a recovery room for observation until you are ready for discharge. You may feel some cramping or a sensation of having gas, but this quickly passes. If medication has been given, a responsible adult must drive you home; avoid alcohol, driving, and operating machinery for 24 hours following the procedure.

If you are unable to keep your appointment or if you have any questions or concerns, please call our surgery center at 901-202-6017.

Downloadable forms:

Colonoscopy Preparation.pdf

 
GI PROCEDURES

Upper Endoscopy    Click here for overview    Click here for preparation guide

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy    Click here for overview    Click here for preparation guide

Colonoscopy    Click here for overview    Click here for preparation guide

Hemorrhoid Procedures

Hemorrhoid Banding    Click here for overview

 
UPPER ENDOSCOPY OVERVIEW

Also called an EGD or gastroscopy, an upper endoscopy uses a thin scope with a light and camera at its tip, called an endoscope, to look inside the upper digestive system of the esophagus, stomach and the first part of the small intestine. The endoscope is passed through the mouth and down the throat to the esophagus. It may also have a small biopsy instrument to remove tissue that is then checked under a microscope for abnormalities.

What to Expect During the Screening
You will be given a sedative, and a local anesthetic may be sprayed into your mouth to suppress the gag reflex when the endoscope is inserted. A mouth guard will be inserted to protect your teeth as well as the endoscope.

In most cases, an intravenous line will be inserted into the arm to administer the sedation and any medications that might be needed. You will lie on your left side, and, after the sedative has taken effect, the endoscope will be gently guided through the esophagus to the stomach and the beginning of the small intestine. Air will be introduced through the endoscope to enhance viewing. The lining of the esophagus, stomach and upper small intestine is examined, and biopsies can be performed at the same time. After the test is complete, food and liquids will be restricted to prevent choking until the anesthetic wears off and the gag reflex returns.

The actual test lasts about 10 to 20 minutes. There may be a sensation of gas after the procedure. Biopsies cannot be felt. Because of the intravenous sedation, you likely will not feel any discomfort and may have no memory of the test.

What Can Be Found?
An upper endoscopy can help determine causes for heartburn, the presence of hiatal hernias, the cause of abdominal pain, unexplained anemia, and the cause of swallowing difficulties, upper GI bleeding, and the presence of tumors or ulcers.

FLEXIBLE SIGMOIDOSCOPY OVERVIEW

A sigmoidoscopy is an internal exam of the lower part of the large colon using a short, thin, flexible lighted tube (“scope”). It is inserted into the rectum and slowly guided into the colon. The tube, called a flexible sigmoidoscope, has a lens for viewing. It may also have a small biopsy instrument to remove tissue to be checked under a microscope for signs of disease.

What to Expect During the Screening
During the test the patient is positioned on the left side with knees drawn up toward the chest. First, the doctor will do a digital rectal exam by gently inserting a gloved and lubricated finger into the rectum to check for any abnormalities.

Next, the sigmoidoscope is inserted into the rectum, and the patient will feel some pressure. Air is gently introduced through the scope to expand the colon and help the doctor see well. The doctor then moves the scope as far as needed to examine the lower colon. As the scope is slowly removed, the lining of the bowel is carefully examined. A hollow channel in the center of the scope allows for the passage of forceps for taking a biopsy if needed.

What Can Be Found?
The doctor can help the patient determine the cause of abnormal results and diagnose the cause of diarrhea, bowel obstruction, diverticulosis, inflammatory bowel disease, anal fissures, hemorrhoids as well as find colon polyps that might be in this lower part of the colon.

Colonoscopy Overview

(See above)

HEMORRHOID BANDING OVERVIEW

Hemorrhoids, which are swollen veins in the anus and lower rectum, can cause pain, itching, bleeding, blood clots and infection. To treat persistent hemorrhoids, your doctor may perform hemorrhoid banding. During this procedure, the doctor will place a rubber band around the hemorrhoid to cut off the blood supply, causing it to wither.
Please click here for more detailed information.

 
Frequently Asked Questions
Does colorectal screening really reduce cancer mortality and why?

YES! In addition to the role colorectal cancer screening plays in detecting early-stage cancer, studies show that the removal of premalignant polyps reduces both cancer incidence and mortality.

Why are you recommending the colonoscopy as the preferred colorectal cancer-screening exam?

The American College of Gastroenterology considers colonoscopy the “gold standard” for colorectal screening because it allows physicians to look directly at the entire colon and to identify suspicious growths. Colonoscopy is the only test that allows for immediate biopsy and removal of a polyps at the very same time they are identified.

For persons at average risk of colon cancer, a colonoscopy only needs to be performed every 10 years; persons at high risk should undergo testing every 5 years.

What if I am embarrassed or afraid to undergo colorectal cancer screening?

You are completely asleep during the procedure and there really is no pain. Board-certified, licensed anesthesiologists perform on site sedation for the procedures, which take place in our state-of the art surgery center. Our experienced and attentive staff sees to it that patients are comfortably cared for before, during and after the procedures.

Why do colon polyps/cancer form?

In some people heredity and genes are the most important factors. In others, heredity may play a role, but diet and foods may also be very important.

Who is considered high risk?

Patients with personal or family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps. Also, family history of predisposing chronic digestive condition such as inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis). However, only 20% of colorectal patients report a family history of the disease. Other factors that increase risk: obesity, smoking, heavy alcohol use, high-fat diet, sedentary lifestyle.

What are the symptoms?

Most colorectal cancers produce NO SYMPTOMS until late in the disease, which is why screening is so important. These possible symptoms should prompt a visit with your physician: new onset of abdominal pain, blood in or on the stool, a change in stool caliber or shape, a change in typical bowel habits, constipation or diarrhea.

 
For more information about risks, symptoms and treatment for colorectal cancer, visit:

American College of Gastroenterology
National Cancer Institute
CDC - Screen for Life: National Colorectal Cancer Action Campaign
Watch Actor Terrence Howard's Personal Colon Cancer Message



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