What is a Colonoscopy

Colon cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer, through routine screening for polyps in the colon. Colonoscopy is the gold-standard for identifying colon cancer and clinically significant polyps that may lead to cancer.

Since all colon cancers come from polyps, we aim to find polyps early through the colonoscope and remove them before they turn into cancer, i.e. cancer prevention. A polyp looks like a wart or cherry. Routine colonoscopy prevents cancers by removing polyps.

It is important to get a check-up before symptoms arise. The cure rate when a cancer is found early (without symptoms) is 85%. but after symptoms occur it is only 15%.

 

By removing polyps during regular colonoscopy, we rarely see colon cancer now — mostly in new patients! Only in colon cancer is there a lesion (ie: polyp) which can be detected and removed before the cancer starts. This is true cancer prevention.

The Purpose

Since majority of colon cancers come from polyps, we aim to find polyps early through the colonoscope and remove them before they turn into cancer, i.e. cancer prevention. A polyp looks like a wart or cherry. Routine colonoscopy prevents cancers by removing polyps.

It is important to get routine screening before symptoms arise.

The Scope

The technology used in the procedure is called a video colonoscope. It has a video chip in its tip, which transmits visual images to a television monitor. Using controls at the head of the instrument, a more thorough examination can be performed. 

Another channel allows us to insert forceps to take a biopsy or remove a polyp as needed. The cramps or fullness that occur during the procedure last only a few seconds and occur as the scope progresses through the GI tract.

Potential Complications:

A key step of the examination is the laxative taken the night before. The colon must be flushed clean, otherwise the procedure cannot be done.

Complications (serious bleeding and perforation) are rare — approximately 1 in 1000. In our clinic's experience, it is approximately 1 in 4000. 

We provide anesthesia coverage by qualified anesthetists, for a more comfortable experience. This is NOT a general anesthetic. It is deep sedation given through intravenous drugs. Someone must accompany you home if you receive sedation during you procedure. The fee for the examination is paid for by OHIP.

 

If you have any questions, please ask us or consult your doctor.

colonoscopy.jpg