During a colonoscopy, a long flexible tube with a tiny camera at the end is inserted into the rectum and passed through the entire length of your colon (large intestine). The entire lining of your colon is visualized, and if any polyps are found, they can be removed at the same time. During the procedure, you will be lying on your left side and you will be sedated so that you are comfortable.
Colonoscopy is considered the "gold standard" for colon cancer screening for several reasons:
- It covers the entire colon (large intestine)
- The colon lining is directly visualized
- Polyps can be removed at the same time
It is ideal if polyps are found when they are small because then they are less likely to be cancerous. Many polyps are only a few millimeters (1/4 inch or less) in diameter. It is impossible to see these small polyps if the colon is not very clean. For this reason, it is essential for you to clean out your colon by following the bowel preparation instructions that you receive.