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Care for Your Colon Know Your Options


Submitted by Genesis Imaging Centers

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. In this article, we review the importance of screening for colon cancer and discuss what screening options are available for patients. Not every patient can tolerate colonoscopies, but there are other screening options.

When we turn 50, we face the dreaded screening colonoscopy, recommended by healthcare professionals across the board. While we may want to delay this daunting exam, it is crucial that we put the health of our body first! Colorectal cancer ranked fourth in estimated number of new cancer cases in 2017 and second in estimated number of cancer related deaths in 2017.

Like any cancer, early detection is key to a positive prognosis. There are several different screening options available. The most commonly known screening is a colonoscopy. Colonoscopies allow doctors to search for cancer or pre-cancer, in the form of polyps, in patients who show no symptoms. Many times, they can remove polyps during the procedure before they become cancerous. While this exam may take extra time out of our schedule and cause some unpleasant preparation prior, the results are worth the extra hassle.

Not every patient is healthy enough or can tolerate a colonoscopy. So, how can those patients be proactive in their colon health?

Virtual Colonoscopy or CT Colonography
Virtual colonoscopy is an excellent alternative for patients with clinical factors that increase the risk of complications from colonoscopy, elderly patients, or patients with a narrowed or obstructed bowel. This minimally invasive imaging exam provides 2D and 3D images, portraying polyps and other lesions as clearly as when they are seen via conventional colonoscopy.

During a virtual colonoscopy, a CT technologist inflates the patient’s colon with air to remove folds or wrinkles that can hide polyps from the view of the camera. A patient moves through the CT machine while the CT technologist images the inflated colon. Often times, the patient is moved into various positions to get a full view of the entire colon. The exam is about 15 minutes long. A radiologist will interpret the images and send the results to the physician who ordered the patient’s exam.

No sedation or pain relievers are needed for a virtual colonoscopy, allowing the patient to go about normal activities after the exam. However, there is restricted eating and bowel preparation before the exam.

A virtual colonoscopy may not be the right exam for you. That is why it is important to talk to your primary care doctor or specialist about your family history and current health, so you can make the best choice for you.

Genesis Imaging Centers offers virtual colonoscopies at its location in Davenport at 1970 E. 53rd St. If you have questions about the services the Genesis Imaging Centers offer, please contact Physician Liaison Amanda Geffre at 563-421-5632 or geffrea@genesishealth.com.

1National Cancer Institute
“Cancer Stat Facts: Colorectal Cancer” National Cancer Institute. Retrieved February 9, 2018 from https://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/colorect.html