en | ch | bh | ru
290 Orchard Road #06-06, Paragon Shopping Centre, Singapore 238859
Understanding Colonoscopy

Colonic disease is on the rise and one of the most efficient ways to detect any colonic abnormality is through a colonoscopy.

Almost all cancers of the colon and rectum arise from pre-existing polyps. Polyps can be detected and removed through the scope, preventing it to grow into a cancerous body. Colonoscopy involves the insertion of a flexible long but thin tube through the anus. There is a special built-in instrument to enable inspection of the intestines. It also allows the specialist to take biopsies, inject medicines, wash the insides of the large intestines and remove polyps and cancers tumours within the wall of the large intestines, colon or rectum. This established procedure is known to be a good cancer prevention, diagnostic tool and even as a therapeutic instrument to let surgeons treat patients with polyps and other diseases of the large intestines.

Patients who exhibit symptoms such as blood in the stool, change of bowel habits, inconsistency of the stool, abdominal discomfort pain or distention are advised to go for colonoscopy. Patients with known family history of colorectal cancers should also be scoped at frequent intervals. The frequency should be determined by the specialist together with the patient and the families concerned. For those without family history, screening should start at around 35 years of age and be performed at intervals of five to 10 years.

The highest risk age group for colorectal cancer is between the ages of 50 to 70 years. Almost all colorectal cancers start with a small benign polyp. This polyp, if not removed, grows within the body for between five and 20 years and has a higher risk of malignant change. By starting to screen at 35 years of age can effectively prevent cancer rather than screening at a much later age.

The preparation for colonoscopy is rather simple. For patients who are receiving the treatment the next day, they should refrain from any fibre intake and to eat light. On the night before, they need to have an early dinner and start the first bottle of bowel preparation after it. This allows them to clear as much fluids as possible. The next round of bowel cleansing preparation will come the following morning at about five or six. For patients who are receiving the treatment on the same day, they have to take a concoction that consists of two types of preparations. This will cleanse the bowel and prepare the patients in four hours for their colonoscopies.

Colonoscopy is a safe procedure. However all procedures may be associated with risks especially in patients such as elderly patients with multiple medical problems like heart disease and lung problems. One of the risks includes perforation when removing large polyps and post colonoscopic bleeding. Patients who are on anti-coagulants have to stop these drugs at least five to seven days before the procedure. Patients who have polyps removed or coagulated may be told to report to hospital if they have bleeding or experience abdominal within a week or so of the procedure to detect early colonic perforation or colonic bleeding post procedure.