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Answers to Your Questions about Colon Cancer Screening

Your gastroenterologist specialist will generally want you to have your first colonoscopy at around the time that you are 50 years old. If everything is fine and no abnormalities get found, you can usually wait until you are 60 before you have your next one. The colonoscopy is one of three types of colon cancer screening options. That is often the first one typically recommended if you have no issues or symptoms that there may be problems. Other options include stool samples or a CT scan. Depending on symptoms and concerns, your doctor will determine the best tests for you.

How Long Does It Take?

One of the first questions about a colonoscopy is how long it takes. The actual colonoscopy usually takes 1/2 hour or less. However, once it is complete, you will be taken to the recovery room until the sedative wears off. It takes about another hour though you may still have some lingering impact from the sedative for hours after.

Do You Feel Pain During the Procedure?

It's perfectly normal to wonder whether or not a procedure is going to be painful. You shouldn't feel any pain during the process. You'll be put under light sedation to ensure that you're comfortable and pain-free.

How Do You Prepare

Your doctor will give you your exact preparation instructions. You should also take the rest of the day off from work, due to the sedative. They will likely be the same or similar to the following:

  • You won't be able to eat solid food the day before.

  • You will be able to drink clear liquids.

  • You won't be able to eat or drink after midnight.

  • Your doctor may want you to use an enema the day before

After the Procedure

You will not be able to drive, so have someone pick you up. You may also feel bloated for a day or so after the procedure. You could also have excess gas after the colonoscopy.

Your doctor can answer any other questions that you might have. While the thought of a colonoscopy can be frightening, the best thing that you can do is relax and follow your doctor's instructions. Colon cancer is one of the most curable diseases when caught early, so regular cancer screenings are vital. Follow your doctor's advice as to when to begin screenings and how often to keep up with them.

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