Why Are Colon Cancer Screenings Important?
It is estimated that more than 93,000 cases of colon cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year. Colorectal cancer can often be symptomless until it is quite advanced, which is why it is often referred to as a "silent" disease. However, when found early the cure is often at a rate of 80 percent or better. This is why getting a colon cancer screening from an experienced colorectal surgeon in Los Angeles is so important.
What to expect during a colon cancer screening at the Los Angeles office of Dr. Murrell
Colon cancer screenings are recommended for anyone over the age of 50 and, if the results are normal, are typically repeated every ten years. For patients who have a higher risk of developing colon cancer, such as those with a family history of cancer, a personal history of colon polyps or other intestinal issues, screenings may start at an earlier age or be repeated on a more frequent basis. If colon cancer is a possibility, Dr. Murrell will recommend a colonoscopy as the part of the colon cancer screening in Los Angeles at his office.
The Colon Cancer Screening Process
A colon cancer screening often includes a physical exam of the patient’s abdomen, a digital rectal exam and a colonoscopy as well as blood tests and possible imaging studies. The physical exams and colonoscopy are done to closely examine the health of the patient’s colon and rectum. Dr. Murrell and his staff also will take an extensive medical personal and family history to assess the patient’s cancer risk factors during the colon cancer screening.
When a colonoscopy is scheduled, the patient is given thorough instructions on how to prepare for their procedure. Often, a few days before the actual colon cancer screening, the patient will be asked to follow a low fiber diet and/or a clear liquid diet for a day or two to help eliminate matter from the colon. The night before the procedure, laxative medications are taken to further eliminate fecal matter from the intestines and colon. These steps aren’t always pleasant, but they are important and insure that Dr. Murrell is able to fully examine the tissue of the rectum and colon.
The colon cancer screening begins with an exam of the patient’s abdominal region to look for any areas of swelling or inflammation. A digital rectal exam is done by Dr. Murrell to check for any masses, inflammation or abnormal areas prior to the colonoscopy in Los Angeles.
Immediate Removal of Polyps during Colonoscopy
Once the initial exams are completed the patient is sedated to help make them more comfortable. The colonoscopy portion of the screening begins when the thin, flexible tube called a colonoscope is inserted into the colon through the anus. This lighted scope is used to examine the colon and rectum for any polyps, tumors or abnormal areas. If a polyp or abnormal area of tissue is present, Dr. Murrell can remove it using endoscopic tools within the colonoscope and perform a biopsy on the tissue to check for pre-cancerous or cancerous cells.
It is important to remove colon polyps, because they may develop into cancer in the future. This is also the best test to diagnose colon cancer. Most colonoscopies are done on an outpatient basis with minimal inconvenience and discomfort.
Further Colon Cancer Screenings After Colonoscopy
If further tests are indicated, Dr. Murrell may order imaging tests such as CT, MRI, ultrasound, PET scans or x-rays of the colon and abdominal area. Dr. Murrell will then determine the proper treatment based on test results and scans.
Schedule your Colon Cancer Screening Today – It Could Save Your Life!
Regular colon cancer screenings are important steps in the fight to detect, treat and potentially cure colon cancer. Staying up to date on your colonoscopies will give you the peace of mind that you are on top of your colon health. If you are over the age of 50 or have a family history of colon cancer, it is time for you to schedule your Los Angeles colon cancer screening with Dr. Zuri Murrell. Dr. Murrell and his team are here to make you comfortable and give you all the information necessary to make these important decisions about your health. Call us at (323) 302-5327 or click here to schedule your colon cancer screening today.