- Every 9 minutes someone in the U.S. dies of colorectal cancer.
- Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths.
- Colorectal cancer is one of the most easily prevented cancers because it develops from polyps that can be removed before they become cancerous.
- If detected early, colon cancer treatment is successful with 85-90% of patients living at least five years.
- You have the power to do something about this cancer...get your colon checked.
Beginning at age 50, both men and women should have a screening test. For those at average risk for colon cancer, a colonoscopy is generally recommended every 10 years. People with certain risk factors, such as family or personal history, may need a colonoscopy earlier or more frequently.
Your primary care provider must refer you for colonoscopy because family history and risk factors determine the timing of appropriate screening. Please talk to your primary care provider today to help reduce your risk.
Where can I have my colonoscopy completed?
What is a colonoscopy?
Colonoscopy is a test to look inside the entire large intestine. The doctor uses a flexible tube that contains a light and a tiny video camera (this device is called a colonscope). Please note that you will be mailed specific directions about colonoscopy preparation and information about colonoscopy from the Gastroenterology department.
Do they put me to sleep for a colonoscopy?
Sedation is used during the procedure to make you relaxed. We will give you as much or as little of the medicine you need so that you are comfortable. 90 percent of patients do not remember anything afterward about the colonoscopy.
How long is the procedure?
The colonoscopy itself takes 15-30 minutes, however from the time you arrive until you are leaving the department, expect everything to take 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
What time do I really need to be there? What time will I see the doctor?
The appointment time you are given is approximately 45-60 minutes before your procedure is scheduled. During this prep time, you will be changing into a gown, filling out paperwork, signing your consent form and will have an IV started. You will see the doctor just before the procedure starts.
Do I need to drink the whole gallon?
Yes. It is very important to drink the entire amount. Your colon needs to be extremely clean. It is also important to drink clear liquids as directed. This will also help clean your colon.
What about my medications?
Please take any blood pressure medication or heart medication as you normally do before you arrive for your test. Please check with your doctor about your other medications. You can drink a couple swallows of water with your medication that morning.
Do I really need a driver?
The doctor will not do your procedure with sedation if you do not have a ride home. We do not recommend walking or taking the bus.
When will I get the results of the test?
The doctor or nurse will speak with you before you leave the hospital that day. It is helpful to have someone with you when you talk to the doctor to help you remember what the doctor says. Results of biopsies will be mailed or called to you in approximately 10 days.
Can I go back to work after the procedure?
Because we give you conscious sedation medicine, we recommend that you do not drive or operate machinery for 12 hours after the medications. Please take the time to go home and relax, take a nap (for the remainder of the time for the medications to wear off) and to have something to eat. We do not recommend that you return to work after sedation.
How will I feel the next day?
Most patient are able to return to normal activities the day following the procedure.
What if I have my period?
Your period will not prevent you from having a colonoscopy. Please bring supplies to freshen up after the procedure is completed.
Gundersen physicians perform colonoscopies at many hospitals in the Tri-state Region. Check with your primary care provider to see if a Gundersen physician does the procedure at a hospital near you.