Colorectal cancer that isn’t diagnosed and treated in time is still a leading cause of death in the United States, but a screening colonoscopy could save your life. Experienced surgeon Jacob Rinker, MD, FACS, and his team at Wyoming Medical Associates perform colonoscopies to screen for cancer and other colorectal conditions. They can also remove precancerous polyps and treat problems like lower gastrointestinal tract bleeding at their locations in Gillette and Casper, Wyoming. Call the office nearest you for more information or book an appointment online today.
Colonoscopy Q & A
What is a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is an investigative procedure that the Wyoming Medical Associates team uses to see inside your colon or large bowel. Colonoscopy involves the use of a special endoscopic instrument (the colonoscope) that travels the entire length of your colon.
The colonoscope has a miniature light and camera on the end of a long, flexible tube. The camera transmits images of the inside of your colon to a monitor in the treatment room, providing a detailed view of the tissues inside your bowels.
Why might I need a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy can help diagnose the cause of symptoms like lower abdominal pain, irregular bowel movements, chronic diarrhea, and bleeding in your lower gastrointestinal tract.
As well as identifying inflammation and ulcers in your colon, the Wyoming Medical Associates team can pass instruments down the colonoscope to perform treatments, such as stretching narrowed areas of the colon and stopping bleeding.
One of the most important functions of a colonoscopy is detecting and treating colorectal cancer.
How is a colonoscopy used for colorectal cancer?
A colonoscopy is an invaluable screening tool that enables the Wyoming Medical Associates team to detect polyps in your colon. Polyps are growths that are mainly harmless but can become cancerous.
Using a colonoscope, the team can find any polyps and remove them before they get a chance to develop into cancer.
If you’re over 50, you should have regular screening colonoscopies. If you’re at high risk of getting colorectal cancer, you might need to start having regular colonoscopies sooner.
How does colorectal cancer start?
The majority of colorectal cancers begin as growths on the inner lining of the colon or rectum known as polyps.
Some polyps can progress into cancer over time (usually years), but not all polyps do. The probability of a polyp developing cancer is determined by the type of polyp involved. There are different types of polyps. Adenomatous and hyperplastic polyps (the most common type) have a higher chance of becoming cancer than do hyperplastic polyps.
Cancer can also start in tissues outside of the colon or rectum, such as the lungs or mouth.
What does a colonoscopy involve?
In advance of your colonoscopy, you have to clear out your bowels. This involves fasting and taking strong laxatives that flush your system thoroughly the day before your procedure.
On the day, the Wyoming Medical Associates team gives you a sedative to make you sleepy and keep you relaxed. You lie on your side and your provider gently inserts the colonoscope into your anus, along your rectum, and into your colon.
Everyone’s experience of this procedure is different — some barely remember it, while others are aware of pressure and might feel bloating or cramping sensations.
After your colonoscopy, you go to the recovery area while the sedative wears off. A member of the surgical team can then discuss the results with you.
To find out more or arrange your colorectal cancer screening, call Wyoming Medical Associates or book an appointment online today.