Polyps. Colon Cancer. Detection.
By now, most of us know that a colonoscopy is used to check the lining of the colon and rectum. This is done to look for benign, early growths called polyps. Polyps are known to be the precursors of colorectal cancer. Removing those polyps before they become malignant will prevent the development of colorectal cancer in most cases. There are other methods to screen the colon. But colonoscopy is the most reliable. Colonoscopy can also be used to remove these nasty polyps before they become a threat. The other screening methods such as virtual colonoscopy, or a barium enema, involve radiation exposure, and a polypectomy (or polyp removal) cannot be performed. A colonoscopy will be required if as polyp is found.
Although the recommendations for screening may seem confusing, your Colon and Rectal Surgeon, also known as a Coloproctologist or simply a Proctologist at Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates, will be able to explain these recommendations to you.
With respect to screening colonoscopy, confusion has arisen as to the frequency of the examination. As original promoted, a colonoscpy was to be performed every 5 years beginning at age 50. This would enable your Colon and Rectal Surgeon in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills to look at the lining of your colon and remove any polyps, or overgrowths of the lining tissue (also called mucosa), before they could turn malignant. Should a polyp be found, a repeat colonoscopy would be recommended at between one and 5 years, depending on the type of polyp. Additionally, a set of screening rules was developed for those patients with genetic abnormalities which could cause the early onset of colorectal cancer.
Screening. How Often?
At some point in time, the screening recommendation for screening colonoscopy was changed to every 10 years. Recommendations for other methods of screening were left at every 5 years. Of course, this made no sense as screening frequency is based on the rate of growth of polyps and NOT on the type of exam used to detect polyps or cancers. Obtaining a colonoscopy every 10 years would miss polyps that might grow and transform in 2 to 5 years. Not a good idea. Your proctologist can further explain the growth of polyps to you and the need for more frequent screenings in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills or Culver City. The rate of colon cancer has been steadily declining thanks to the use of regular and frequent colonoscopies.
Screening and The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)
With the new Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, screening colonoscopies are covered as a part of the insurance program. There should be no additional cost to you.
Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates
Certainly, if you have any symptoms such as rectal bleeding, anal pain, weight loss or a change in bowel habits, consult your Colorectal surgeon as soon as possible. Your symptoms may be due to nothing more than hemorrhoids. But, you must be careful and be sure. However, if you are over the age of 50, and have no symptoms, there is no time like the present to consult your proctologist at Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates to schedule a colonoscopy. Call (310)273-2310 to schedule an appointment.