According to reports from the CDC, colon cancer takes 50,000 lives annually in the United States alone. Given this grave number, you may be thinking, "how do I avoid developing this condition as well?" As an answer to your concern, Dr. Azeem Khan of Forest Hills Gastroenterology in New York City performs routine colonoscopy screenings on patients ages 50 and older in order to protect them from becoming a part of this dire statistic. Here's some important information about this vital test:
Just what is a colonoscopy?
It's a minimally invasive diagnostic test which visualizes the lower GI tract. Performed with the benefit of twilight sedation (oral conscious sedation), a colonoscopy shows the gastroenterologist the internal structures of the rectum and bowel.
By introducing a lighted tube into the anus, Dr. Khan can look for cancers, polyps (benign growths which can become cancerous), ulcers, bleeding and more. Using this thin scope, he can take real-time images and videos of the colon, as well as remove polyps and other tissues for biopsy.
A colonoscopy at our New York City office takes only about 45 minutes from start to finish. During the entire procedure, you'll lie comfortably on your left side or back, and although you may feel some mild pressure, there is no pain or discomfort. When the procedure has finished, you will remain in a recovery area for an hour. Dr. Khan will review your results with you, and you'll be driven home by an adult friend or relative.
Truly, the most difficult part of this screening test is the day-before preparation. You'll have to drink only clear liquids such as broth or apple juice, and in the evening, you'll consume copious amounts of liquid cathartics to clear the intestine completely. This "clean out" allows Dr. Khan to have an unobstructed view of your bowel.
What are the common symptoms of colon cancer?
Some people experience weight loss or a dramatic change in bowel habits (i.e. diarrhea, constipation, etc.). However, a vast number of people have no symptoms whatsoever, which is why routine cancer screenings are so important. Most physicians recommend an initial screening at 50 unless there is a familial history of colon cancer, in which case tests should begin an earlier age.
Take control of your colon health
To arrange your screening, call our New York City office at (718) 268-0418.