Colonoscopy is the most popular test to prevent colon cancer. An experienced doctor puts a very thin, flexible tube (a colonoscope) into the anus in order to look at the inside of your colon.
The doctor looks for polyps or cancer. If polyps are found, the doctor removes these during the exam. This will prevent colon cancer.
The day before your colonoscopy you will drink a liquid to clean out your colon. This will let the doctor get a clear look inside your colon. You will go to the bathroom many times, including during the night.
You will be given a medicine right before the colonoscopy to help you feel relaxed and comfortable. The exam takes about half an hour, and you should plan to miss a day of work. You will need someone to drive you home after the exam.
With a colonoscopy there is a very small risk of bleeding or poking a hole in the colon (this would require surgery to fix). This happens only about 1 in 2,500 times.
A colonoscopy is not as difficult as some people think. Many like the “peace of mind” it gives them. If everything is normal, you don’t need another test for 10 years!