Colonoscopy Screening FAQ

What is a colonoscopy screening?

Colonoscopy is a test that allows your doctor to look at the inner lining of your large intestine. A colonoscopy helps find ulcers, polyps, tumors, and areas of inflammation or bleeding. Polyps are small growths that over time can become cancer, so early diagnosis is critical.

How is a colonoscopy performed?

The doctor uses a thin, flexible, hollow, lighted tube that has a tiny video camera on the end called a colonoscope, which is gently eased inside the colon and sends pictures to a TV screen. The exam itself takes about 30 minutes. You’ll probably be given medicine to help you relax and sleep while it’s done. You’ll need to plan on having someone go with you for this test so they can take you home afterwards.

How often should I have a colonoscopy?

Your health care provider decides how often you need this test, usually once every 10 years, unless you’re at a higher risk for colon cancer. It’s important that you talk with your provider to understand your risk for colon cancer, the guidelines you should follow for testing, and whether you need to start having the test at age 45 or earlier.

Do I really need a colonoscopy if I'm not having any symptoms?

Colon cancer can proceed gradually with no symptoms unless the cancer is advanced. Colon cancer starts out as a colon polyp that can be removed during a colonoscopy, which is a very minor procedure. By the time colon symptoms appear, the cancer may be advanced, requiring removal of part of the colon, so early diagnosis is critical and could save your life.

Is the prep for a colonoscopy as bad as people say?

The preparation before a colonoscopy, which aims to thoroughly clean out your bowels, is perhaps the most important part of the test. Preps are selected on an individual basis to insure they are safe and appropriate. There have been recent improvements with lower quantity options that are more palatable. Ask your doctor what options are available to you and follow their directions carefully.

Will I have to take off work for several days when I have a colonoscopy?

You will be on a clear diet the day prior to your colonoscopy. You should be able to work the day prior to your procedure and then go back to work the day after your procedure.

Is the colonoscopy procedure painful?

Most people don’t find the colonoscopy painful. You’re given medicine to make you sleep, so you don’t feel anything.

Will my insurance cover a colonoscopy?

Many insurance companies cover colonoscopies. You can call your insurance company directly to learn about your coverage or the office you are scheduled with can check with your insurance provider upon request.

What if something is found during my colonoscopy?

If a small polyp is found, the doctor will probably remove it during the test. If the doctor sees a large polyp, a tumor, or anything else abnormal, a biopsy will be done. During a biopsy, part or all of the polyp or abnormal area is taken out through the colonoscope. It’s sent to a lab where it’s checked for cancer or pre-cancer cells.

Do I need a referral from my family doctor to schedule a colonoscopy?

No, you can schedule a colonoscopy without a referral.

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If you are 45 or older, schedule a screening colonoscopy today

The American College of Physicians recommends all men and women 45 or older get a screening colonoscopy.

Follow the link below to schedule your appointment. Early detection saves lives!

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Committed to early detection of colon cancer

Columbus Regional Health’s Endoscopy Center is honored to receive recognition from the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE), one of only 14 honorees in Indiana to receive this distinction.

The ASGE recognition means that we have demonstrated a commitment to safety and quality as evidenced by meeting the program’s rigorous criteria focusing on evidence-based quality measures that were established for endoscopy centers. We track and nationally compare physician performance, patient outcomes, and adherence to CDC infection control guidelines. This demonstrates our dedication to the delivery of high quality patient care and early detection of colorectal cancer through screening colonoscopy.