Although there are a variety of available colon cancer screening tests (including new, at-home options as well as a blood test) a colonoscopy remains the gold standard. While we always say the best test is the one that gets done, a colonoscopy is still your most thorough option. That’s because in many cases, when individuals are screened on time, doctors can detect and remove polyps before they become cancerous or find cancer in its earliest stages when it is easily treatable.
But we won’t lie – while the colonoscopy prep has improved over the past decade, it still isn’t what most people describe as something they enjoy.
What’s worse than the colonoscopy prep, you might ask? Simple – having to do the prep twice because it wasn’t done correctly the first time (meaning your doctor couldn’t complete the scope – ekk!)
- Ask Questions
- Be confident in your doctor and their capacities. How experienced is your doctor? Is he or she specially trained to perform ?
- Ask your doctor to clarify if you’re unsure of something about the prep or procedure. It’s YOUR body—voice your concerns!
- Download our free “Questions to Ask Your Doctor about Your Colonoscopy” guide.
- Pay Attention to Your Prep
- The preparation done before a colonoscopy is strict (trust us,we know!), but it’s strict for a reason! Good prep ensures your doctor will have a clear look at your colon, which leads to more accurate results. Consult your doctor about possible modifications they can make if you have concerns about prep.
- Follow Up
- Ask your doctor questions about the colonoscopy—even after the procedure. Be confident that the exam was thorough! Here are some questions to ask your doctor after your colonoscopy:
- Did you reach the cecum? (The answer should be “YES”; if they did not reach the cecum, the colonoscopy should not be considered complete.)
- How long did it take you to withdraw the colonoscope? (The colon is actually examined during withdrawal, so moving too quickly can cause the doctor to miss any problems. Current studies say withdrawal time should be eight minutes or longer.)
- When should I come for a follow-up appointment?
- What symptoms might suggest I should come back before my next scheduled colonoscopy?
Early colon cancer screening could save your life. Take charge of your health and get informed about screening methods!
photo credit: Connor Tarter Week #35/52 via photopin (license)