Does a Colonoscopy Detect Rectal Cancer?

is colorectal cancer screening the same as colonoscopy

is colorectal cancer screening the same as colonoscopy

Quick answer is “yes, it does”. Screening is the procedure of trying to find cancer in people who have no symptoms. A number of tests can be used to evaluate for colorectal cancers.

These tests can be divided into:

  • Tests that can discover both colorectal polyps and cancer: These tests look at the structure of the colon itself to discover any irregular areas. This is done either with a scope (a tube-like instrument with a light and cam) put into the anus or with unique imaging (x-ray) tests. Polyps found during these tests can be gotten rid of prior to they end up being cancer, so these tests may prevent colorectal cancer. Due to the fact that of this, these tests are encouraged if they are available and you are willing to have them.
  • Tests that mainly discover cancer: These tests check the stool (feces) for signs of cancer. These tests are less intrusive and much easier to have done, but they are less most likely to identify polyps.

Colonoscopy Procedure to Detect Rectal Cancer

For this test, the doctor takes a look at the entire length of the colon and anus with a colonoscope, a thin, versatile, lighted tube with a small video camera on the end. It’s generally a longer version of a sigmoidoscope. It’s put in through the anus and into the rectum and colon. Unique instruments can be travelled through the colonoscope to biopsy (sample) or remove any suspicious-looking areas such as polyps, if needed.

Prior to the test: Be sure your doctor knows about any medicines you are taking. You may need to change how you take them prior to the test. The colon and rectum should be empty and clean so your doctor can see the lining of the entire colon and rectum during the test. This process of cleaning out the colon and anus is often unpleasant and can keep people from getting this essential screening test done. However, more recent kits are available to clear out the bowel and may be much better tolerated than previous ones. Your doctor can talk about the choices with you.

Your doctor will provide you specific instructions. It’s crucial to read them thoroughly a couple of days ahead of time, given that you might have to follow an unique diet for at least a day prior to the test and to look for products and laxatives. If you’re uncertain about any of the directions, call the doctor’s office and discuss them with the nurse.

You will probably also be told not to eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your test. If you generally take prescription medicines in the early mornings, talk with your doctor or nurse about how to manage them for that day.

Due to the fact that a sedative is used during the test, you will need to schedule someone you understand to take you home after the test. You might require someone to assist you enter into your home if you are drowsy or lightheaded, so many centers that do colonoscopies will not discharge people to go home in a taxi or a ridesharing service. If transportation might be a problem, talk with your health care supplier about the policy at your healthcare facility or surgery center for using one of these services. There might be other resources readily available for getting home, depending upon the situation.

During the test: The test itself typically takes about 30 minutes, however it might take longer if a polyp is discovered and removed. Prior to it starts, you’ll be offered a sedating medication (into a vein) to make you feel unwinded and sleepy during the procedure. For many people, this medicine makes them uninformed of what’s going on and unable to bear in mind the procedure later. You’ll wake up after the test is over, but may not be completely awake till later on in the day.

During the test, you’ll be asked to push your side with your knees brought up. A drape will cover you. Your blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing rate will be monitored during and after the test.

Your doctor might insert a gloved finger into the rectum to analyze it before putting in the colonoscope. The colonoscope is oiled so it can be inserted easily into the rectum. As soon as in the rectum, the colonoscope is passed all the way to the start of the colon, called the cecum.

If you’re awake, you may feel an urge to have a bowel movement when the colonoscope is inserted or pushed further up the colon. The doctor likewise puts air into the colon through the colonoscope to make it much easier to see the lining of the colon and use the instruments to carry out the test. To ease any discomfort, it may assist to breathe deeply and gradually through your mouth.

The doctor will take a look at the inner walls of the colon as he or she slowly removes the colonoscope. If a little polyp is found, it may be eliminated and after that sent to a laboratory to be examined if it has any areas that have become cancer. This is due to the fact that some small polyps might become cancer in time.

If your doctor sees a bigger polyp or tumor or anything else unusual, a biopsy may be done. A small piece of tissue is gotten through the colonoscope. The tissue is checked in the laboratory to see if it’s cancer, a benign (non-cancerous) development, or inflammation.

Possible side effects and complications: The bowel preparation prior to the test is unpleasant. The test itself might be unpleasant, but the sedative generally aids with this, and most people feel normal once the results of the sedative diminish. Since air is pumped into the colon during the test, people sometimes feel bloated, have gas pains, or have cramping for a while after the test up until the air loses consciousness.

Some people may have low high blood pressure or modifications in heart rhythm from the sedation during the test, but these are rarely serious.

If a polyp is eliminated or a biopsy is done during the colonoscopy, you might see some blood in your stool for a day or 2 after the test. Severe bleeding is unusual, but in rare cases, bleeding might need to be dealt with or can even be lethal.

Colonoscopy is a safe procedure, but in rare cases the colonoscope can puncture the wall of the colon or rectum. This is called a perforation. Symptoms can include severe abdominal (belly) pain, nausea, and vomiting. This can be a major (and even dangerous) complication, because it can cause a major abdominal (belly) infection. The hole might have to be fixed with surgery. Ask your doctor about the risk of this problem.

Tests that can find both colorectal polyps and rectal cancer are motivated if they are offered and you are willing to have them. But the most crucial thing is to get tested, no matter which test you choose.

These tests, along with others, can also be used when people have symptoms of colorectal cancer and other digestive diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease.


Last modified: November 26, 2017

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