Why Colonoscopies Are the Best Screening Method For Colorectal Cancer

The majority of colon cancers are preventable by screening. A colonoscopy is a safe, effective, and relatively painless test. The doctor can see and remove polyps, which are abnormal growths in the colon or rectum …


The majority of colon cancers are preventable by screening.

A colonoscopy is a safe, effective, and relatively painless test. The doctor can see and remove polyps, which are abnormal growths in the colon or rectum that can grow to be cancerous.

Before the procedure, you must empty your bowel using an enema or strong laxatives. You will be given medication to relax and sedate you during the process.

Screening for Colorectal Cancer

A colonoscopy can find precancerous polyps (abnormal colon or rectum growth) before they become cancerous. It has also been shown to reduce colorectal cancer incidence and death.

Other screening tests, such as stool tests that check for blood and a flexible sigmoidoscopy test that looks only at the lower part of your large intestine, don’t have the same benefit. These other tests can miss some abnormalities and can suggest that something is present when it is not (false-positive results).

Talk to your doctor about when you should get a screening test and which test is proper for you. Screening is most effective in people who commit to regular screenings consistently, as recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Early Detection

A colonoscopy aims to find cancer or polyps early when they are smaller and less likely to spread. This is why colonoscopies are the most effective screening method for colorectal cancer.

A doctor examines the lining of the large intestine (colon) with a long flexible tube with a camera and light. They may also remove some of the tissue for examination under monitored anesthesia.

Unlike a flexible sigmoidoscopy or virtual colonoscopy, a standard colonoscopy checks your entire colon and rectum with a scope.

Before this test, you follow bowel preparation steps, including using enemas and not eating solid foods for several days. The procedure only takes 30-60 minutes, and you will receive medications through an IV to make you comfortable and drowsy.


A gastroenterologist like Gastroenterology Of The Rockies Colonoscopy Denver can check the lining of your large intestine (colon) and rectum with a long, thin, flexible tube with a light and camera attached. Doctors use this procedure, called a colonoscopy, to detect and treat issues like colon cancer, polyps, and diverticulosis.

A colonoscopy only lasts 30-60 minutes, and doctors can give you medications for sedation so you don’t feel any pain inside your body. The only pain you might experience is gas pressure as the scope blows carbon dioxide to inflate your colon for better viewing.

A colonoscopy can also help identify and remove polyps, which are precancerous growths. Removing polyps and sending them to a lab for biopsy can reduce the chances of cancer in the future. And if the doctor finds any other abnormal tissue, they can send you for further tests.


A colonoscopy lets your doctor look more closely at your large intestine. They may remove polyps or tissue samples to test them in a lab. The polyps could be a sign of cancer, but they also might be inflammation (colitis) or abnormal pouches in your intestinal lining (diverticulosis).

The person receiving the procedure will wear a hospital gown and lie on an examination table with their knees drawn up towards their chest. They’ll receive a sedative, either as a pill or intravenously. They may feel stomach discomfort or the urge to pass stool as the doctor moves and inflates the colonoscope.

After the exam, they’ll stay in a recovery room until the effects of the sedative have worn off. They might need to follow temporary dietary changes.


To prepare for a colonoscopy, your doctor will advise you to change your diet a few days before the test and clean your bowel. This is done using laxatives, and you will spend several hours in and out of the bathroom.

The doctor will use a flexible, lighted tube called a colonoscope to examine the rectum and the entire colon. The doctor may also remove polyps or tissue samples for biopsy during this exam. You may feel pressure or gas pain as the scope is inserted and advances into your colon, but this should be brief.

Almost all colonoscopies are done with sedation or anesthesia, and you will be asleep during the procedure. You should tell your gastroenterologist if you have any health problems or a history of adverse reactions to sedation.

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