A colonoscopy enables the medical professional to obtain an unobstructed view of the entire lining of the colon and rectum. It is a routine outpatient procedure with little or no discomfort for the patient. A colonoscopy is commonly used to evaluate gastrointestinal symptoms, such as rectal and intestinal bleeding, abdominal pain, or changes in bowel habits. In many cases, a colonoscopy allows accurate diagnosis and treatment of colorectal problems without the need for a major operation. See our FAQs for more info about colonoscopies and colorectal screening.
Also called an EGD or gastroscopy, an upper endoscopy uses a thin scope with a light and camera at its tip, called an endoscope, to look inside the upper digestive system of the esophagus, stomach and the first part of the small intestine. The endoscope is passed through the mouth and down the throat to the esophagus. It may also have a small biopsy instrument to remove tissue that is then checked under a microscope for abnormalities.
A sigmoidoscopy is an internal exam of the lower part of the large colon using a short, thin, flexible lighted tube (“scope”). It is inserted into the rectum and slowly guided into the colon. The tube, called a flexible sigmoidoscope, has a lens for viewing. It may also have a small biopsy instrument to remove tissue to be checked under a microscope for signs of disease.
Hemorrhoids, which are swollen veins in the anus and lower rectum, can cause pain, itching, bleeding, blood clots and infection. To treat persistent hemorrhoids, your doctor may perform hemorrhoid banding. During this procedure, the doctor will place a rubber band around the hemorrhoid to cut off the blood supply, causing it to wither.
• Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
• Colonoscopy and Ileoscopy
• Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy
• Endoscopic Polypectomy
• Endoscopic Sclerotherapy
• Endoscopic Variceal Band Ligation
• Endoscopic Diathermy
• Laser Therapy for Gastrointestinal Malignancy
• Balloon Dilation of Gastrointestinal Strictures
• Small Intestine Endoscopy
• Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio-Pancreatography
• Endoscopic Sphincterotomy, Stone Removal and Mechanical Lithotripsy
• Endoscopic Biliary and Pancreatic Stenting
• Esophageal pH Monitoring
• Intestinal PillCam
• Liver Biopsy
• Hydrogen Breath Testing for Bacterial Overgrowth Testing
• Helicobacter Pylori Testing
• BARRX Ablation Therapy
• Foreign Body Extraction
• Painless Endoscopy
• Hemorrhoid Banding
Does colorectal screening really reduce cancer mortality and why?
Yes! In addition to the role colorectal cancer screening plays in detecting early-stage cancer, studies show that the removal of premalignant polyps reduces both cancer incidence and mortality.
Why are you recommending the colonoscopy as the preferred colorectal cancer-screening exam?
The American College of Gastroenterology considers colonoscopy the “gold standard” for colorectal screening because it allows physicians to look directly at the entire colon and to identify suspicious growths. Colonoscopy is the only test that allows for immediate biopsy and removal of a polyps at the very same time they are identified. For persons at average risk of colon cancer, a colonoscopy only needs to be performed every 10 years; persons at high risk should undergo testing every 5 years.
What if I am embarrassed or afraid to undergo colorectal cancer screening?
You are completely asleep during the procedure and there really is no pain. Board-certified, licensed anesthesiologists perform on site sedation for the procedures, which take place in our state-of the art GI Lab. Our experienced and attentive staff sees to it that patients are comfortably cared for before, during and after the procedures.
Why do colon polyps/cancer form?
In some people heredity and genes are the most important factors. In others, heredity may play a role, but diet and foods may also be very important.
Who is considered high risk?
Patients with personal or family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps. Also, family history of predisposing chronic digestive conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis). However, only 20% of colorectal patients report a family history of the disease. Other factors that increase risk: obesity, smoking, heavy alcohol use, high-fat diet, sedentary lifestyle.
What are the symptoms?
Most colorectal cancers produce no symptoms until late in the disease, which is why screening is so important. These possible symptoms should prompt a visit with your physician: new onset of abdominal pain, blood in or on the stool, a change in stool caliber or shape, a change in typical bowel habits, constipation or diarrhea.