Colonoscopies offer an important way to protect your gastrointestinal health. New York City, NY, gastroenterologist Dr. Azeem Khan of Forest Hills Gastroenterology discusses the test and explains what doctors look for during a colonoscopy.
What is a colonoscopy?
Colonoscopy offers a minimally invasive way to examine the lining of your colon. During the procedure, a thin probe called a colonoscope is passed into your colon and the lower part of your small intestine via your anus. The lighted colonoscope contains a miniaturized fiber optic camera that transmits images of the lining of your colon to a digital screen. As your gastroenterologist passes the scope through your colon, he'll be able to see every inch of the lining on the screen.
What problems can be detected during a colonoscopy?
Colonoscopy is often used to:
- Screen for Colon Cancer: More than 135,000 people in the U.S. are expected to be diagnosed this year with colon cancer, the fourth most common type of cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. Because your risk of colon cancer rises as you grow older, initial colonoscopies are recommended for both men and women at age 50. If the initial colonoscopy doesn't reveal cancer or other health issues, you probably won't need another colonoscopy for 10 years. During the test, your gastroenterologist looks for polyps, lesions, bleeding or other signs that could indicate that you have cancer.
- Remove Polyps: Polyps, small growths that form in the lining of the colon, can be benign, pre-cancerous or cancerous. The only way to tell if a polyp is cancerous is to remove it during a colonoscopy and send it to a laboratory for analysis. Polyp removal can be done during your colonoscopy and involves inserting a small instrument into your anus and colon.
- Diagnose Diseases and Conditions: A colonoscopy can be a valuable diagnostic tool if you have chronic diarrhea or constipation, abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss, rectal bleeding, changes in bowel movements or bleeding. The procedure can help your gastroenterologist determine the cause of your symptoms. In some cases, problems can even be treated during a New York City colonoscopy. For example, bleeding can be treated with injected medications or tools that seal off leaking blood vessels with heat.
Protect your gastrointestinal health with a colonoscopy. Call New York City, NY, gastroenterologist Dr. Azeem Khan of Forest Hills Gastroenterology at (718) 268-0418 to schedule an appointment.