Colonoscopy

Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy can be used to look for cancer of the colon (bowel cancer) or colon polyps, which are growths on the lining of the colon that can sometimes be cancerous or may grow to be cancerous.

A colonoscopy may be performed to find the cause of signs and symptoms including:

  • bleeding from the rectum
  • blood in the stools.
  • pus or mucus in the stools.
  • unexplained abdominal pain.
  • changes in bowel habits such as unexplained and long-lasting diarrhea.
  • Screening and surveillance for colorectal cancer.

Colonoscopy is a procedure that enables an examiner (usually a gastroenterologist) to evaluate the inside of the colon (large intestine or large bowel). The colonoscope is a four-foot long, flexible tube about the thickness of a finger with a camera and a source of light at its tip. The tip of the colonoscope is inserted into the anus and then is advanced slowly, under visual control, into the rectum and through the colon usually as far as the cecum, which is the first part of the colon. Usually, it also is possible to enter and examine the last few inches of the small intestine (terminal ileum).

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