Regular gastrointestinal (GI) screenings are essential for maintaining good digestive health and identifying any potential concerns, such as colorectal cancer. These procedures help detect and prevent gastrointestinal conditions, ensuring early intervention and effective treatment if necessary. They are typically recommended based on age, family history and individual risk factors. It is important to consult with your provider to determine the appropriate timing and frequency of these screenings.
Various GI examinations are available to assess the health of the gastrointestinal tract. Screenings help identify conditions such as acid reflux, ulcers, gastritis, inflammatory bowel disease and cancer. These procedures may include:
- Barium Enema
- Capsule endoscopy (pill cams)
- Endoscopic ultrasound
- Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
- Upper GI endoscopy (EGD)
A colonoscopy is the best method of spotting colon cancer. It's an exam that allows your doctor to look closely at the inside of your entire colon for signs of cancer or polyps. Polyps are small growths that, over time, can become cancer. This screening method allows us to take samples of any changes; sometimes, precancerous and cancerous growths can be removed.
Patients are typically given sedation during a colonoscopy to ensure their comfort throughout the procedure. A small, flexible tube is gently inserted through the rectum. The tube has a small camera at the end, allowing the doctor to navigate the entire colon length. This minimally invasive procedure is generally well-tolerated and has a low risk of complications.
Preparing for Your Colonoscopy
Prepping for your colonoscopy is an important step for ensuring excellent results. Click on your specific prep type below to follow the instructions.
A barium enema, or lower gastrointestinal (GI) examination, is an X-ray examination of the large intestine (colon and rectum). We use this test to help diagnose diseases and other problems that affect the large intestine.
This test allows the doctor to look at the lower third of the colon. During a sigmoidoscopy exam, samples of any growths can be biopsied, and precancerous and cancerous growths can sometimes be removed.
To prepare for a flexible sigmoidoscopy, it is important to follow the instructions provided by your healthcare provider. Typically, the preparation involves a special diet and taking steps to cleanse the colon. These steps help to ensure that the doctor has a clear view of the colon during the procedure, increasing the chances of accurate detection and removal of any potential abnormalities.
Upper GI Endoscopy (EGD)
An upper GI endoscopy (EGD) is a procedure that allows your doctor to examine the lining of the upper part of your gastrointestinal tract, including the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. During an upper endoscopy, a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope is inserted through the mouth and guided down into the digestive system. This procedure is commonly used to investigate symptoms such as persistent heartburn, difficulty swallowing or unexplained weight loss.
Colorectal Cancer Prevention
If you’re 45 and older, scheduling a colonoscopy is essential. People with a high risk for colorectal cancer and those with a family history should talk with their doctor about being screened earlier.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in men and women in the United States. Every year, there are nearly 107,000 new cases of colon cancer and more than 46,000 new cases of rectal cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. And almost half of those who contract the disease will die. Colon cancer is one of the most preventable types if polyps are discovered and removed before progressing to cancer.