When people hear the word “colonoscopy,” most think of it as a necessary screening procedure for aging men, but seldom do people think of it as a procedure that is necessary for women too. As of 2011, colon cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths among women, right behind breast cancer. While 80 percent of women routinely schedule mammograms, only about 60 percent of women over 50 are screened for colon cancer.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends colorectal cancer screening for men and women aged 50 to 75. At the Colonoscopy Center of Excellence, we provide state-of-the-art colonoscopy techniques, including the Third Eye Colonoscopy. Call our team of skilled gastroenterologists in Los Angeles at (888) 837-0459.
Why Is a Colonoscopy Necessary?
Colonoscopies are tests that allows your doctor to look at the inner lining of your large intestine, rectum and colon. He or she uses a thin, flexible tube called a colonoscope to look at the colon. A colonoscopy helps find ulcers, colon polyps, tumors and areas of inflammation or bleeding. During a colonoscopy, tissue samples can be collected (biopsy) and abnormal growths can be taken out. Colonoscopy can also be used as a screening to check for cancer or precancerous growths in the colon or rectum (polyps).
What Is the Colonoscopy Prep Like?
To prepare your colon for this test, you will need to clean out your colon (colon prep). Colon prep takes one to two days, depending on which type our doctors recommend. Some preps may be taken the evening before the test. The colon prep causes you to have diarrhea so that your colon will be empty for the test; therefore, you should plan to stay home during this time. Most of our doctors will use a low volume prep to make this process easier for their patients.
Tips in Preparation for Your Colonoscopy Prep
StopColonCancerNow.com, a community of more than 700 physicians who urge women to be screened, offers the following tips to make a colonoscopy a little easier.
- Wear Your Boxers Backwards. If modesty during the procedure is a concern, then wear a pair of boxers backwards or ask your doctor if they have paper shorts or “moon pants” available.
- Diaper Rash Cream and Wet Wipes. Before you start the prep for your colonoscopy, get diaper rash cream. Apply it before your first trip to the bathroom and then every time after. Instead of toilet paper, use flushable wet wipes. Both will help cut down on the irritation of repeated trips to the toilet.
- Make The Prep An Event. Schedule your colonoscopy on the same day as a friend and get through it together. If you’re able to laugh about what you’re going through, it will make those repeated trips to the bathroom easier. If you’re on your own, grab a book or a DVD to help pass the time.
- Drink Up. Drinking all the liquid that’s required for the prep can be a daunting task. But if you hold your nose, use a straw, keep the liquid cold and gulp it down, it can be easier. Get support from your family — let them watch the clock, mix the liquid and place bets on whether or not you can get all the liquid down in a certain amount of time.
- Plan Your Celebratory Meal. After you’re finished with your colonoscopy, you can finally eat again. So the day after your procedure, go some place special and celebrate the step you’ve taken towards better health.
The Importance of Colon Cancer Screening
When colon cancer is detected and treated in the earliest stage, the five-year survival rate is 90 percent, according to the American Cancer Society. A colonoscopy is the most effective method of screening for colon cancer because it allows both diagnosis and treatment at the same time. Women are encouraged to be screened if they are over 50 years old (45 for African Americans) or have a family history of colon cancer or polyps.
Schedule Your Colonoscopy in Los Angeles Today!
If you are due for a colonoscopy, don’t hesitate to contact our board-certified gastroenterologists and colorectal surgeons in Los Angeles at the Colonoscopy Center of Excellence today to schedule a consultation by calling (888) 837-0459.
Next, read more about what happens during a colonoscopy.