Colonoscopy is advised for all patients, age 50 and older, as a method of colon cancer screening. The procedure is preformed using a colonoscope, a long flexible tube that permits visualization of the lining of the large bowel.

The instrument is inserted via the rectum and guided through the length of the colon. If the doctor sees a suspicious area, a biopsy can be done to make a diagnosis.

Reasons for Colonoscopy

Colonoscopy is a valuable tool for the diagnosis and treatment of many conditions within the large intestine, including:

  • Detection and removal of polyps
  • Surveillance for new polyps in individuals with a past history of polyps or cancer of the colon
  • Assessment of abnormalities of the large bowel detected on another study.
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Changes in bowel habit
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Therapeutic intervention such as in the setting of rectal bleeding, strictures of the colon, or abnormal lesions
  • Distention of the large bowel
  • Abdominal pain