What is a colon cancer screening?
Every day, patients come to NYGA to learn how best to prevent colorectal cancer. In order to determine the program that is best for you, we review your medical history to determine if you have any risk factors for CRC, such as a family member who got CRC, or a disease such as chronic ulcerative colitis, that increases your risk for CRC.
Several tests screen for CRC. The best is colonoscopy, which directly visualizes the lining of the colon and permits your doctor to remove most polyps. Polyps are fleshy growths that develop in the colon and that can lead to cancer in some cases.
Because colonoscopy requires anesthesia, it may be risky in individuals who have advanced heart or lung diseases. In this setting, a non-invasive stool-based screening test or a CT scan of the colon may be desirable. Likewise, a non-invasive test may be preferable in the elderly – or you may not need screening at all.
We will also discuss with you factors that influence the best timing of colon cancer screening. This is often a nuanced clinical decision, part of the “art of medicine.”
We will discuss the options with you, providing you the information that you need to make the right choice.
The American Cancer Society recommends having a colonoscopy every 10 years, beginning at age 50. The American College of GastroenterThey also recommend having them every five years beginning at age 40 if you have certain risk factors.
Are all colon polyps cancerous?
Many people develop polyps in their colon, and very few are cancerous. However, because polyps don’t cause symptoms unless they grow large, it’s important to have a colonoscopy to detect them when they’re small and more easily treated.
What happens during the colonoscopy phase of the screening?
Before having your colonoscopy, you’ll need to fast and drink a special liquid or take pills to help empty your bowels completely. When you are prepped for the procedure, we will insert an IV to administer sedation to make sure you are relaxed throughout the entire procedure.
During the procedure, a long, thin, flexible colonoscope will be passed through your anus and rectum, and then all the way through your colon, or large intestine. Air will be pumped into your colon to gently expand it and make things easier to see. A special tiny camera at the end of the colonoscope will take video images as it moves through the colon, transmitting those images to a monitor where the doctor can view them. If a polyp or abnormal area is seen, the polyp can be removed or a tissue sample can be taken using special instruments designed to be used through the scope. The polyp or tissue sample is then sent to a lab for evaluation.
Colon Cancer Screenings at NYGA Are State-of-the-Art
If you need a colon cancer screening, you’ll be glad to know that our doctors perform these procedures at our two state-of-the-art endoscopy centers. These are:
The Endoscopy Center of New York. This advanced, 12,000 square foot facility is located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The center has five large, fully-equipped procedure rooms, a well-appointed, comfortable waiting room, a private registration area, and spacious pre-assessment and recovery areas. ECNY has been the site of more than 50,000 procedures.
Carnegie Hill Endoscopy, a clinical affiliate of Beth Israel Medical Center, is an advanced, 15,000 square foot facility center located on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan.