Colonoscopies are considered the gold standard when it comes to colon cancer screening. Other types of screenings such as fecal occult blood tests or barium enemas can simply detect cancer. A colonoscopy is the only screening that can both detect and prevent colon cancer. During your colonoscopy, your doctor can find and remove polyps before they have a chance to turn into cancer. That lowers your risk of developing colon cancer.
A colonoscopy allows your doctor to view the entire length of your colon to evaluate the health of your digestive tract. Using a long, flexible tube called a colonoscope, your doctor will insert the tube into your rectum. A camera attached to the tube will help your doctor see any abnormalities. If any polyps are discovered during the procedure, your doctor can remove the polyps during the procedure for biopsy and diagnosis.
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A colonoscopy is the best screening method because it is the most comprehensive exam. It is also the only screening exam that can detect as well as treat colon cancer by removing cancerous polyps. It is estimated that between 60 to 90 percent of colon cancer deaths could be prevented if everyone over 50 chose to have a colonoscopy. That is 30,000 to 45,000 lives that could be saved! If you have never had a colonoscopy before, take a few moments to view some FAQs and find a treatment center near you.