A colonoscopy is a common procedure to examine the colon, or large intestine, and is a screening tool to detect colorectal cancer. Although it is a common screening procedure, many people procrastinate or never get one. For those people especially, here is some information on the facts and myths of colonoscopy.
Myth: A Colonoscopy is only for screening purposes. It can’t really prevent colon cancer.
Fact: Not only does proctologist Aaron B. Parrish, MD look for signs of colon cancer, they can also remove any early abnormalities like polyps in the colon. These abnormalities, or precancerous polyps, are removed before they can grow into cancer.
Myth: I don’t have any symptoms of colon cancer, so why bother to go through a colonoscopy?
Fact: There are few noticeable symptoms of very early colon cancer. The only way to know for sure is to have regular colonoscopies. Depending on your risk factors, Dr. Parrish will recommend how often you should have them after a consultation at our office in San Jose.
Myth: A colonoscopy is embarrassing, uncomfortable, and takes a long time to recover.
Fact: You will be made comfortable with a light sedative so you won’t even have time to be embarrassed, and the colonoscopy team understands and treats you with the utmost respect.
Since you are sedated, you feel nothing, and within a couple of hours you are free to leave with a driver and able to carry on with normal activities the next day.
Myth: Getting a colonoscopy is dangerous. My colon can be perforated.
Fact: A colonoscopy is safe and effective. One person in one thousand will end up with a perforated colon, whereas one in twenty Americans will be diagnosed with colon cancer in their lifetime.
Myth: I can’t afford a colonoscopy.
Fact: Most insurance companies will pay for this screening as will Medicare. There is minimal or no out-of-pocket cost for patients.
Myth: Preparing for a colonoscopy sounds hard and unpleasant.
Fact: Your preparation only lasts one day of a clear liquid diet. It is accompanied by another fluid to thoroughly clean out your colon that allows Dr. Parrish to see clearly inside. Cleansing liquids have improved, so you only need to drink two 16 oz serving containers and they have even improved the taste.
Myth: A colonoscopy is the only test to screen for colorectal cancer.
Fact: Actually, there are several screening options including a stool sample test and a virtual colonoscopy. If you have no risk factors, talk with Dr. Parrish about this option if you are really nervous about a colonoscopy.
Contact Dr. Aaron Parrish at (408) 358-2868 if it’s time for your regular scheduled colonoscopy or if you have not had one yet. It can save your life.