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 the 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
Many polyps are only a few millimeters (1/4 inch or less) in diameter. It's crucial to detect these polyps when they are small, because they are less likely to be cancerous. In order to see these small polyps, it's essential that the colon is clean. For the best possible results, patients should adhere to the bowel preparation instructions to completely clean out the colon and allow for clear visualization.