Posts for: June, 2019
Have questions about colorectal cancer? We’re here to help.
Whether someone you know has just been diagnosed with colorectal cancer or you have been told that it’s time to start getting routine colonoscopies, there are many reasons that people turn to our Clearwater, FL, gastroenterologists Dr. Umesh Choudhry and Dr. Gourisankar Degala. Have questions about colorectal cancer? We are here to answer them.
What are the symptoms of colorectal cancer?
While colorectal cancer may not always cause symptoms until more advanced stages, signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer include:
- Changes in your bowels (diarrhea or constipation)
- Blood in stool or rectal bleeding
- Persistent abdominal cramping or gas
- Feeling as if your bowels don’t completely empty
- Narrow stools
- Unexplained weight loss
While these symptoms can be caused by far less severe conditions such as IBS or hemorrhoids, it is important that you talk with your doctor about the symptoms you are experiencing.
What are the risk factors?
Colorectal cancer is more likely to occur in men and women over the age of 50 years old, which is why it’s important to see your Clearwater, FL, GI doctor for a colonoscopy around the age of 50. Other risk factors include:
- A family history of colorectal cancer
- A personal or family history of colon polyps
- Inflammatory bowel disease (e.g. Crohn’s disease; ulcerative colitis)
- Being obese
- Smoking or tobacco use
- Leading a sedentary lifestyle
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- Poor diet
While you can’t change genetics you can change your lifestyle, which can go a long way to reducing your risk for colon cancer. Even small changes such as improving your diet, exercising regularly, and quitting smoking can greatly benefit your health for the long term.
When should I start getting routine colonoscopies?
Starting at age 50, men and women should schedule their first colonoscopy. If you are at an increased risk for colon cancer you will want to talk with your gastroenterologist about whether you should get screened earlier. A colonoscopy is the very best tool for detecting and removing colon polyps as well as detecting colon cancer. Even if you aren’t at risk for colorectal cancer you should still get screened.
How long does a colonoscopy take?
A colonoscopy only takes about 15 to 30 minutes. It may take longer if we find polyps that need to be removed. During a colonoscopy you will be under IV sedation and anesthesia.
What happens during a colonoscopy?
Once the sedation has taken effect your gastroenterologist will guide a thin tube with a camera at the end into the rectum (this tube is known as a colonoscope). Your doctor will guide the colonoscope through the large intestines to look for polyps or other suspicious growths or tissue. If everything looks good you may not need another colonoscopy for 10 years.
If you just turned 50 years old and you are living in Clearwater, FL, then it’s time to schedule a colonoscopy. Invest in your health. Call Advanced Digestive Care today.