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Have you had your colonoscopy?

Updated on February 24, 2014

At the consultation

Consulting the doctor with your symptoms
Consulting the doctor with your symptoms | Source

What is a colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is the examination of your entire large intestine with a flexible lighted tube with a camera mounted on it. If you have ever had : unexplained and persistent nausea, bloating and gassiness, stomach and abdominal pain, change in bowel habits, bleeding per rectum and blood in your stool, and unexplained weight loss, your doctor will send you for a few hospital tests of your digestive system. If the results are questionable, inconclusive or indicative of colon cancer, you will be sent for a colonoscopy to rule out or confirm colon cancer.

The colonoscopy

Colonoscopy is done by passing a 6ft. lighted, flexible tube inside the entire length of your large intestine, above the rectum and to the lowest part of the small intestine. The scope is about the circumference of your first finger. The camera mounted on it visualizes the colon as the tube is slowly pulled down its length. Photos may be taken if necessary. If any polyps are detected, they are removed with a snare passed up the scope. Any bleeding is stopped with a cautery.

The colon has innumerable folds all along its length in order to have enough surface for digesting, absorbing and excreting your food and waste. The camera in the colonoscope can only see the fronts of the folds and miss whatever may be hidden on the back of them - polyps, inflamed or bleeding tissues or ulcers. It is estimated that colonoscopy misses about 25% of adenomas.

The second leading cause of cancer deaths.

What is 'third eye colonoscopy'?

Because of the amount of adenomas missed by traditional colonoscopy, the third eye colonoscopy procedure was pioneered by Avantis Medical Systems Inc. of Sunnydale, California, in Silicon Valley about 4 years ago. This third eye retrograde colonoscope has a tip that turns back 180 degrees on itself when the scope reaches the top end of the colon.

As the scope is slowly moved downward, the camera in it, like a rear-view mirror, seeks out and detects polyps and other abnormalities on the back side of the colonic folds, the side missed by the regular colonoscope. It is estimated this procedure detects 23% more adenomas or polyps, thus raising the rate of early cancer detection and saving more lives each year.

Third Eye Colonoscopy

Preparing for a third eye colonoscopy.

The procedure time for both traditional and third eye colonoscopy are about 30 minutes. The preparation for both types of colonoscopies are the same,

You will get printed instructions for the prep from your gastroenterologist at your initial interview. Stop all blood-thinning medication 5 days before the procedure. Stop taking iron pills 5 days before as well.

The day before your colonoscopy, you will be on a clear liquid diet. This means liquids you can see through, like apple juice, ginger ale, jello, clear fat-free broth, black tea, black coffee.

The next part involves your complete colon cleanse and each doctor may prescribe his preferred laxative. Early in the afternoon, you will take 2 laxatives like Dulcolax. Follow this a couple of hours later with 4 liters of a fluid like Golytely, or maybe Miralax mixed in Gatorade. It all depends on your doctor's preferences. You will feel hungry and maybe thoroughly washed out.

Your colonoscopy

On the day of your colonoscopy, present yourself at the doctor's center one hour before to be prepped by the nurses. You will receive IV medication for conscious sedation (you stay awake) to minimize discomfort. You are able to participate in the procedure and move yourself as needed to help the doctor. You will be lying on your left side and probably watch the TV screen of your examination unless you prefer not to. The doctor will explain what you see on the screen.

After the procedure, you will be kept in recovery at least 1to 2 hours before discharge. You must have somebody with you to bring you home because of the sedation you have received. Have a rest when you get home, hydrate yourself and eat when you feel up to it. It is all right to return to work the next day.

Where you can get third eye colonoscopy

With its increased rate of early cancer detection, third eye colonoscopy will probably become the standard of care in the near future. As it stands, it is still relatively unknown and few gastrointestinal health centers in the world practise it. In NY State, only Brooklyn Hospital and University of Rochester Medical Center have the trained doctors and the facilities for third eye colonoscopy. And in Connecticut, only Norwalk Hospital offers it.

Four other States that I know of at this time, June 2012, also use the third eye colonoscopy:

Texas: Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital, Houston. This was the first ever hospital with this service.

Florida: Palm Coast Hospital Flagler, Palm Coast.

Arizona: Mercy Gilbert Medical Center, Gilbert.

Louisiana: Willis-Knighton Health System, Shreveport.

Benefits of early detection of colon cancer.

Colon cancer usually starts after the age of 50. That is why we start having regular colonoscopy from age 50. You would start earlier if someone in your family has had colon cancer.

Colonoscopy has saved countless lives through early detection of colorectal cancer. If non-cancerous polyps are found, they are removed before they become cancerous. If cancer does occur, early detection means early treatment and a good 5 year survival rate. of 90%. If the cancer is not found till it has spread through the lymph nodes, the 5 year survival rate drops to 12%. Treating early cancer is more cost effective than treating advanced cancer.

If you are in the high risk group

If you have a family history of colon cancer, you are in a high risk group. African Americans are also a high risk demographic, as are people with Irritable Bowel Diseases of any sort, like Crohn's. If you have had polyps at a previous colonoscopy, this places you in this group. You should have a colonoscopy every 5 years and oftener if your doctor thinks you should. Those not at high risk should go every 10 years.

Many people do not get it for various reasons. Embarrassment, ignorance, fear of pain, and most of all, inadequate health insurance or none at all. Medicare and the Affordable Care Act are now helping new beneficiaries to get preventive physical examinations but they must be done within one year of enrollment.

Make your appointment

States are authorized to cover colorectal screening for Medicaid clients, but there is no federal assurance of that without symptoms. Medicaid coverage varies state to state.

Many high profile people are helping to spread the message about colonoscopies, even to having their own colonoscopies publicized on TV. They help to take the embarrassment out of this important procedure. Katie Couric, the spokesperson for gastrointestinal health, said, 'Don't be embarrassed to death'. Her own husband died of colorectal cancer at age 42, and she is a passionate crusader for colonoscopy to save people from this dreaded disease.

If you are over 50 and have not started having this screening done, go find a provider of third eye colonoscopy and make your appointment. You just might save your own life.


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    • mizjo profile image

      mizjo 4 years ago from New York City, NY

      Hello, joepowell, I came on your post rather late as I've been away for a while. Thank you for your visit. I hope many people read articles about this important subject so they may be saved the pain and suffering colon cancer brings.

    • profile image

      joepowell10 5 years ago

      very useful information in this blog , I wish more people read it,and get the valuable information,I am very happy to read Benefits of early detection of colon cancer in this blog post.... This is very good details!

    • profile image

      Detox cleanse 5 years ago

      I hope all people feels better for this blog article . it's very informative and useful I am very happy to read it's Benefits of early detection of colon cancer.Thank that you lot!

    • mizjo profile image

      mizjo 5 years ago from New York City, NY

      Hello, Livingpah, nice to see you here. Thanks for visiting and sharing. Carry on giving us more of your delicious recipes.

    • livingpah2004 profile image

      Milli 5 years ago from USA

      Very educational and informative hub. Voted up and shared.

    • mizjo profile image

      mizjo 5 years ago from New York City, NY

      I hope she feels better. It's an awful disease.

      Thanks for visiting, Midget, and for the vote and share. Looking forward to more of your poems.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 5 years ago from Singapore

      My aunt has Colo -Rectal Cancer and Colonoscopy is quite a stressful though necessary procedure for her. Will share this, Mizjo! Votes up on it.

    • mizjo profile image

      mizjo 5 years ago from New York City, NY

      Thanks, Girishpuri. I hope it helps make up people's minds to take more care of their bodies before it's too late.

      Nice to meet you, Girishpuri.

    • girishpuri profile image

      Girish puri 5 years ago from NCR , INDIA

      very useful information on large intestine problems, and your article is an eye opener for those, who try to avoid changes in stool habits, very useful hub,

      voted up

    • mizjo profile image

      mizjo 5 years ago from New York City, NY

      You bet, Sunshine. Follow coming up!

      And thanks for your follow too.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I was actually serious I could have gone on and on, but I didn't want to scare you off since this is first time I commented on one of your hubs. Looking forward to the follow, if you don't mind. :)

    • mizjo profile image

      mizjo 5 years ago from New York City, NY

      Goodness, Sunshine (how beautiful), that's a lot of family and friends who have had cancer. You were so wise to want to be scanned earlier than later, and I am happy you had great results. Your brother I see is looking after himself too.

      The message for colonoscopy could not be emphasised enough, so you're certainly not 'going on and on'! If the word could be spread to even two people, that could be two people saved, so let's keep spreading!

      Thanks for writing in.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I have a strong family history of colon cancer. My mom and her mom both lost their battles. My older brother has had many polyps removed. A friend of a friend lost his life at age 36 (no family history) and a friend of mine is still recovering from treatments (age 41, stage 3). My friends husband beat Prostate Cancer, but now has Colon Cancer and is being treated (age 54, stage 2).

      I had my first colonoscopy at age 45 and was told to come back in 5 years. I opted for 3 years instead. Both tests were great results. A colonoscopy is not something anyone looks forward to, but it's truly a piece of cake (which you could celebrate with after the test is completed!)

      I posted the ages and stages to show that sometimes no matter the age this disease could get you. Pay attention to the signs and symptoms because they are there, but usually it's when the cancer has progressed BUT could still be treated. I apologize for going on and on.

      Thank you mizjo for this hub and the outlet for me to help spread the word along with you.

    • mizjo profile image

      mizjo 5 years ago from New York City, NY

      Yes, Jeff, it's good to be able to sleep at night. I'm glad that you're taking care of things.

      I hope a lot more people will realise that a colonoscopy is not the worst thing they have to go through.

    • BraidedZero profile image

      James Robertson 5 years ago from Texas

      As a 22 year old that has already had colon cancer, I love this article. Very informative on the entire procedure and what it does for you. Having piece of mind is worth having this procedure.

    • mizjo profile image

      mizjo 5 years ago from New York City, NY

      I'm very glad you're consciously looking after your body, my friend. Things could go so wrong with people's 'manana' attitude.

      I have funny memories of the time before 'helicobacter pylori' was found to be the cause of gastric ulcer. Hyperacidity was the reputed culprit and was treated with regular doses of Half &Half combined with other antacids in the hospital in Texas where I worked. I don't think it ever cured anyone's ulcers.

    • moretea3 profile image

      moretea3 5 years ago

      Colonoscopy is imperative where there is a family history of cancer, as is the case with my own family. I had similar symptoms like those of my late mum, so it was very scary when I had mine done. It found two small but benign (non-malignant) polyps, measuring the size of a grape pip.

      It was the other investigation, gastroscopy, that uncovered the culprit of my bowel problems/painful stomach after every meal. Nobody suffered who ate the same food that I had. This test found the cause: a Gram-negative microaerophilic bacterium known as "helicobacter pylori".

      Phew! What a relief to know that it can be treated with a prescription of two different types of antibiotics. If left alone in the stomach, it might cause gastric cancer. Prevention is always better than cure.

    • mizjo profile image

      mizjo 5 years ago from New York City, NY

      I'm so sorry about your Mom. It is so devastating to lose a mother to this horrible disease, and to think hers was not detectable? It's not fair, but God works in mysterious ways.

      It is to be hoped that a lot of families will be spared this anguish by people just going for this fairly easy procedure. It is practically painless.

    • PenHitsTheFan profile image

      Amy L. Tarr 5 years ago from Home

      God bless you for posting this. My Mom died from Colon Cancer. Her form was not the kind you can find from this test but most colon cancer can be. I breaks my heart to think of other families being torn apart like ours has been.