Learn Why It Is Imperative to Get Colonoscopy Exams


Are you aware that the five-year rate of survival for individuals with colorectal cancer is 90% if the disease is caught and treated early on in its progression? When it comes to catching colorectal cancer and additional colorectal disorders, colonoscopy has garnered a distinction in the gastroenterology community as the most reliable, effective examination.

The skilled doctors at Arizona Digestive Health commonly conduct colonoscopy exams for individuals throughout the community. Keep reading as our Arizona gastroenterology team outlines the imperative role colonoscopies have in protecting gastrointestinal health.

Who is a good candidate for a colonoscopy screening?

Having a routine colonoscopy is recommended for patients aged 45 and older. Patients who are younger might also be advised to have a cancer screening if meeting any of the following criteria:

  • You show signs or symptoms that are associated with colorectal cancer, such as:
    • Constipation
    • Diarrhea
    • Unexplained weight loss
    • Blood in your stool
    • Abdominal pain
  • Your family medical history includes colorectal cancer or polyps
  • You have some form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) (such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis)

Please note that the symptoms outlined above are also associated with other digestive conditions, making it crucial to set up a colonoscopy procedure to assess your symptoms and digestive health. Reach out to Arizona Digestive Health to learn further details about other conditions that might be detected with a colonoscopy.

How long does a colonoscopy screening take to complete?

For most patients, the entire colonoscopy process commonly takes a few hours, from preparation to recovery. You should plan to arrive at your colonoscopy doctor's facility or endoscopy center in Arizona 60 – 90 minutes before your scheduled exam time. Doing so will give you additional time to take care of any required patient forms and change into a medical gown. Afterward, you'll be escorted to the exam room, where the medical staff will start administering a sedative medication to help you stay relaxed and at ease throughout the colonoscopy.

In most scenarios, a routine colonoscopy procedure lasts 15 – 30 minutes. Your physician will carefully position the colonoscope (a slender, probe-attached video camera) into your rectum, incrementally advancing it forward and viewing the video for any conditions. If colorectal polyps (growths) are detected during the procedure, your gastroenterologist may take the opportunity to remove them during the exam.

After the colonoscopy, you will relax in a recovery room to allow the sedative effects to wear off. This may take up to 60 minutes, depending on the quantity of sedation used and your reaction to it. It's common to feel drowsy for the remainder of the day, so plan ahead to have a reliable ride home. It's also important to avoid anything strenuous or completing important paperwork until you recover. You will be given a printed report outlining your colonoscopy results and can expect to hear from your GI provider with any biopsy results typically within about seven days or so.

Routine colonoscopies are a negligible time investment for the diagnostic advantages and peace of mind they offer. For more information on what you can expect during your colonoscopy exam, please contact an Arizona Digestive Health location near you to find a board-certified specialist who performs colonoscopies in Arizona.

Does a colonoscopy carry any risks I should know about?

There is a minor chance that some indications or concerns (including colorectal growths) might not be readily visible in your colonoscopy results. It's vital to get in touch with your gastroenterologist and inform them of any ongoing or new problems.

Additional potential risks accompanying a colonoscopy screening involve piercing of the large intestine, negative response to the sedative medication, or internal bleeding (if any growths are removed). However, remember that fewer than 1% of colonoscopy exams have complications, the majority of which are not severe. If you have concerns or questions involving the risks associated with a colonoscopy, our Arizona Digestive Health providers will be pleased to go over those with you.

Visit a colonoscopy doctor in Arizona

Given that colorectal cancer rates are trending upward among younger adults, the value of having a colonoscopy to protect your GI health cannot be overemphasized. If you are age 45 or older or have a heightened risk of colon cancer, get in touch with the GI doctors at Arizona Digestive Health to learn more about colonoscopy services. Be proactive with your GI health and reach out to our Arizona practice without delay.