Most people understand that a colonoscopy is a part of turning 50. This minimally invasive procedure allows our doctors to examine the inner lining of your colon and rectum using a small camera inside a flexible tube. The goal is to identify any abnormal areas of the colorectal region, and these tissues can typically be removed or biopsied through the scope during your procedure.
While a colonoscopy is often done as a preventive measure to identify signs of colon cancer and rectal cancer, it may also be performed to investigate intestinal problems or unexplained abdominal pain. At Piedmont Colorectal Associates, our providers specialize in the colonoscopy procedure and will answer your questions and concerns during your initial appointment at our Atlanta or Stockbridge offices.
Colon Tumors and Polyps
Your colonoscopy could be a routine part of entering your 50s, or you may be advised to have a colonoscopy sooner if you have a family history of colon cancer or polyps. Our providers will look for any abnormalities, but the most common concern we look for is tumors and polyps that may be noncancerous (benign) or cancerous. People who are 50 and older are at the highest risk of developing colon and rectal cancers (colorectal cancer), particularly those who are overweight, smoke or have a genetic predisposition to colorectal cancer.
Regular screenings for this type of cancer with colonoscopies every decade (or more frequently given your family history) can help prevent colorectal cancer from stealing your life. Colon polyps are typically benign cell clumps that develop inside the colon. They may not cause symptoms, but some polyps can progress into colon cancer with fatal consequences. Our examiner can safely remove these polyps during your colonoscopy, and photos of the tissues taken during the procedure help make the diagnosis.
Small polyps may not cause discomfort or noticeable symptoms if they’re identified and removed during regular screenings. If left in place, polyps may lead to the following symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
- Iron deficiency anemia
- Stool color changes
- Bowel changes
- Rectal bleeding
If our providers identify and remove polyps or tumors, you will likely need a follow-up colonoscopy to ensure no new growths and lower your cancer risk. You may require surgery, radiation therapy or drug treatments such as chemotherapy if colon cancer is discovered during your colonoscopy.
Investigating Intestinal Symptoms Through Colonoscopy
Aside from turning 50, another reason to have a colonoscopy is if you are experiencing worrisome intestinal problems. The procedure will investigate the cause of these intestine and bowel issues:
- Persistent abdominal pain, gas and cramping
- Blood in your stool
- Frequent unexplained diarrhea
- Chronic constipation
- Rectal bleeding
All the symptoms above could be indicators of colon cancer.
Contact Piedmont Colorectal Associates
If you are experiencing intestinal problems or recently turned 50, you may need a colonoscopy. Please schedule an appointment with one of our providers in Atlanta or Stockbridge today by phone or email.