Colorectal cancers are the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. The American Cancer Society recommends that starting at age 50, men and women at average risk for developing colorectal cancer have a screening test such as a colonoscopy. If you have an increased risk of colorectal cancer, your doctor may recommend that you start screening before age 50.
Your risk may be increased if you’ve previously had colorectal cancer, adenomatous polyps, inflammatory bowel disease, or a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps.
What is a colonoscopy?
This test is one of the best tools that doctors have to help them detect colon cancer and treat it early before it spreads. They utilize a thin, flexible tube (called a colonoscope) to get a close-up view of your large intestine, which includes your rectum and colon.
Your doctor can look for any signs of problems, including polyps, tumors, ulcers, and inflammation or bleeding. If he/she sees something suspicious, a biopsy can be performed during the colonoscopy, allowing the doctor to collect a small tissue sample for testing. In addition, abnormal growths can be removed during the procedure.
Why is colonoscopy prep important?
Preparing for a colonoscopy involves making sure your bowel is clean and is commonly called bowel or colon preparation or prep.
You’ll have to take a medication that causes diarrhea and empties the colon, and you’ll also need to change what you eat for a day or two before your procedure. This enables the doctor to thoroughly examine your colon and spot polyps or other issues that may warrant further investigation.
How should I prepare for my colonoscopy?
Colonoscopy prep can vary somewhat, but it’s all designed to clean out your colon. The prep is often described as being worse than the actual colonoscopy.
For a day or two before your procedure, you’ll need to stop eating solid foods and drink only clear fluids. Water, tea, coffee, apple juice, and Jell-O are OK to have, but make sure you’re not eating or drinking anything red or purple. It also helps to start eating a low-fiber diet for a few days in advance of your colonoscopy. Stop drinking entirely two hours before your procedure.
Methods to clean out your colon vary, but many doctors use a laxative tablet or solution that you’ll mix with water. You may be asked to drink the solution over several hours in the evening, or you may need to take half the night before and half the morning of your colonoscopy.
What can I do to make colonoscopy prep easier?
The following tips can help make colonoscopy prep a little easier:
- Make sure you can be home the evening before your test, and wear clothing that’s easy and quick to adjust so you can go to the bathroom quickly.
- Use a straw to drink the solution. This helps it bypass your taste buds.
- Alternative drinking the solution with drinking clear liquids to help get the taste out of your mouth.
- Put the solution in the refrigerator so it’s cold when you drink it.
- Add lemon juice to the solution.
- Add drink crystals like Crystal Light to it if your doctor says it’s OK.
Where can I get a colonoscopy in NYC?
Dr. Anthony Borcich is a dual-fellowship trained gastroenterologist who has more than 30 years of experience treating patients in Manhattan and greater NYC. Board-certified in gastroenterology and internal medicine, he is affiliated with Mount Sinai Hospital and Lenox Hill Hospital.
He performs a wide range of procedures, and his specialties include colonoscopy. Procedures are performed in Manhattan’s newest and most modern endoscopy center.
Dr. Borcich brings a compassionate approach combined with extensive experience and expertise to each patient. If you’re 50 or older or are younger and are at a higher risk for developing colon cancer, contact Dr. Borcich’s practice today.