Bowel cancer develops through a well defined pathway. Bowel polyps (also called adenomas) can slowly grow over years in the lining (also called mucosa) of your bowels and become cancerous (also called carcinoma). Colonoscopy can remove these pre-cancerous growths and keep you cancer free. It is a very safe procedure where a flexible camera is inserted into your anus to examine your small and large bowel. Prior to your procedure you need to flush your bowels, by drinking bowel preparation and only having clear fluids the day prior to the procedure. Colonoscopy usually takes approximately 30 minutes and you will be given sedation medication to keep you comfortable and asleep.
Many patients with bowel cancer or large polyps do not experience any symptoms. Depending on the size and the position of the cancer people can experience:
- Blood in your stool or bleeding from the rectum.
- Change in your bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation or a change in the consistency of your stool
- Abdominal pains, cramping or distention.
- A feeling that your bowel doesn't empty completely
In new Zealand people between the ages of 65 and 75 are offered screening where stool samples are analysed for traces of blood (FOBT). This program has been very successful and has detected many people who had cancer but no symptoms. Limitations of this test is that 40% of cancers do not bleed and therefore do not get detected by stool testing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Referring yourself for a colonoscopy is as easy as filling out the form on https://drmarius.com/referral