Colorectal Cancer Screening and Colonoscopy Prep
Although colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers in the United States, it often goes undetected, according to the American Cancer Society. Symptoms do not usually occur until the disease is advanced and 75% of people diagnosed with colorectal cancer don’t have a family history. The rate of colorectal cancer among people younger than 50 has more than doubled since the 90s, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Colorectal cancer affects both men and women equally. With the risk of cancer increasing after age 50, health experts recommend a colonoscopy screening adults starting at age 50*. Colorectal cancer is highly preventable with early detection and treatment, and a colonoscopy screening is one of the most powerful defenses to prevent colorectal cancer.
What is a Colorectal Cancer Screening?
During a colonoscopy, a doctor does a complete examination of the colon. Once the patient is asleep, the doctor uses a flexible tube called a colonoscope — a lighted instrument with a camera on the end — to capture video of the inside of the colon and rectum. The doctor looks for cancer, polyps (abnormal cell growths) or evidence of other diseases like Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis on the inside lining of the colon or rectum. Catching polyps can stop them from becoming cancer or detect cancer before it spreads.The doctor can also remove suspicious tissue and/or polyps if necessary.
Colonoscopy Prep - It's Easier Than You Think
Despite what’s out there, colonoscopies aren’t nearly as difficult as myths suggest. Our doctors and providers are committed to making your experience as stress-free and comfortable as possible.
- Easier prep: A colonoscopy prep diet usually includes drinking a large solution to clean your colon is why some avoid a colonoscopy. Our physicians often prescribe a split dose, allowing patients to take half the night before, and the remainder the morning of the procedure.
- Simple: Uses a thin, flexible scope with a small, high-definition camera, your surgeon can detect and remove polyps in a single procedure.
- Painless: Most patients experience minimal discomfort, and you’ll likely receive medicine to relax or sleep through it, so you don’t feel anything. You may have no memory of the experience at all.
The vast majority of patients with colorectal cancers did not have any pain or other symptoms. A colonoscopy may be the only way to catch cancer early and get you on the fast track to treatment.
Frequently asked questions:
Q: How long does a colonoscopy take?
A: The actual procedure takes around 20 minutes, but the entire process will take around 3 hours. There will be check-in paperwork, screening prep time, the time for the colonoscopy, then recovery that all needs to be factored into the time it takes.
Q: How much does a colonoscopy cost?
A: Worried about cost? The good news is that most insurance plans now cover screening colonoscopies.
If a high deductible or not having insurance is a concern, take advantage of pre-pay pricing through MDsave®* - all fees are packaged into one price. No additional bills. Talk to our financial counselor about MDsave. Call 307-783-8239.
Wyoming State has a colorectal cancer screening program that provides colonoscopies free of charge for those eligible. Contact our financial counselor to learn more at 307-783-8239.
Healthy Diet and Controllable Risk Modifications:
A healthy diet is best for good colon health. Some dietary modifications that may help prevent colon cancer include:
- Avoiding processed/cured meats
- Consuming colorful fruits and veggies
- Cutting out saturated fat
- Eating foods high in dietary fiber
- Getting enough omega-3 fatty acids
- Limiting your salt intake
- Reducing alcohol consumption
- Restricting the amount of red meat you eat
Controllable lifestyle risk modifications include:
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
- Stop smoking
- Limiting alcohol use (no more than one drink/day for women and two drinks/day for men)
*Some insurers may cover screening colonoscopy starting at age 45. Check with your insurance provider. The CDC recommends age 50.