Early detection is one of the keys to successfully fighting cancer, which means you shouldn’t pass up an opportunity to screen for it when the option is available. A colonoscopy provides you with just such an opportunity. At CUREtology, Dr. Cutter offers colonoscopies to her downtown Los Angeles patients, allowing them to stay one step ahead of colorectal cancer. To learn more, call or schedule an appointment using the online booking tool.
A colonoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure in which Dr. Cutter examines the inside of your large intestine and rectum to check for any abnormal growths or polyps. The presence of abnormal growths doesn’t necessarily mean that cancer is present, but these are common precancerous conditions that Dr. Cutter can easily check out and mitigate before they become more serious.
The good news is that deaths from colorectal cancer have declined considerably over the past several decades thanks in large part to early screening through a colonoscopy. In fact, there are more than one million survivors of colorectal cancer living in the United States today.
The colonoscopy itself is a fairly simple procedure. Dr. Cutter first supplies you with a sedative to make you comfortable and then she inserts a tube into your rectum and threads a small colonoscope through. The scope is equipped with a tiny video camera, which allows Dr. Cutter to study the inside of your colon and rectum in real-time on a monitor.
If Dr. Cutter doesn’t find anything that warrants investigation, she removes the colonoscope, and you’re free to go home. If she finds abnormal tissue or very small polyps, she may decide to take a tissue sample for further evaluation. If you have one or more large polyps (more than one centimeter), Dr. Cutter may decide to remove them during your procedure using tiny instruments, which she inserts through the tube.
In most cases, a colonoscopy last 30-60 minutes. If Dr. Cutter removes anything during the procedure, you’re still free to go home after since she needs time to conduct testing on the tissue.
The American Cancer Society recommends that people with average risk (meaning no family history of colorectal cancer or pre-existing health conditions like Crohn’s disease) should start getting colonoscopies after the age of 45, though some doctors recommend 50. If your first screening turns up nothing of concern, Dr. Cutter typically recommends another screening in 5-10 years.
If Dr. Cutter finds abnormal tissue during your colonoscopy, she figures out the best follow-up plan once she performs a biopsy.
If you’d like to learn more about this very important cancer screening tool, call CUREtology or request an appointment using the online form.