Colon Cancer Screening Specialist
Digestive Disease Clinic, LLC
Charles A. Obioha, MD
Gastroenterologist Located in Rockville, MD
When you reach the age of 45, you should start having regular colon cancer screenings, as colon cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death but can be treated when diagnosed early. At Digestive Disease Clinic, LLC in Rockville, Silver Spring, and Bowie, Maryland, Dr. Charles Obioha, offers colon cancer screening services to men and women from throughout the Montgomery County and Washington, D.C. metropolitan areas. To learn more, call to schedule your screening today.
Colon Cancer Screening Q & A
What is colon cancer screening?
Colon cancer screening is a minimally invasive test to check for signs of abnormal cells or growths in your colon and rectum. If you have an average risk of colon cancer, you should start having colon cancer screenings every 10 years beginning at age 45.
Dr. Obioha offers colonoscopy procedures to examine your rectum and colon for signs of cancer at his three Digestive Disease Clinic, LLC locations. A colonoscopy provides images of the inside of your lower digestive tract, which allows Dr. Obioha to examine your organs and look for abnormalities before you develop noticeable symptoms.
Why should I have a colon cancer screening?
Colon cancer is relatively common, affecting approximately 1 in 20 people. Also, like most other cancers, colon cancer doesn’t cause symptoms in its early and more treatable stages. Having a routine screening is the best way to check for early signs of colon cancer and get potentially life-saving treatment before your cancer progresses to a more advanced and dangerous stage.
Some of the common risk factors for colon cancer include:
- A family history of colon cancer
- Personal history of polyps or other abnormalities in your colon
- Getting older
- Race, as African-Americans have a greater risk of colon cancer than other races
- Inflammatory bowel conditions like colitis or Crohn’s disease
- Low-fiber, high-fat diet
- Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption
While everyone should start having colon cancer screening at age 45, you may need to begin screening earlier or have more frequent tests if you have an increased risk of colon cancer.
What should I expect during my colon cancer screening?
After a careful medical assessment, your doctor has recommended that you have a colonoscopy. During a colonoscopy, a flexible video fiber-optic tube (colonoscope) is passed through the rectum into the lower intestinal tract.
This procedure allows Dr. Obioha to examine the lining of the rectum and the large intestine (colon) and to identify any abnormalities. An anesthesia representative provides sedation for about 10 to 20 minutes on average to ensure you stay relaxed and comfortable throughout the colonoscopy.
Eyeglasses must be removed prior to the procedure. You may prefer to remove dentures and contact lenses at this time.
You will be asked to sign a consent form authorizing the doctor to perform the procedure.
Please let Dr. Obioha and the GI nurse know if you are allergic to any medicines.
A needle for intravenous (IV) medicines will be placed in your arm vein before the procedure. Medicine will be injected through this needle that will make you sleepy and relaxed.
As you lie on your left side, Dr. Obioha will examine your rectum with a gloved, lubricated finger. Then he will insert the lubricated flexible colonoscope which will give you a mild sensation of wanting to move your bowels. As the colonoscope is carefully advanced through the colon, the doctor will examine the bowel lining thoroughly.
You may feel some cramping or gas due to the air which Dr. Obioha is putting in your colon. You may be asked to change positions during the procedure to assist in the passage of the colonoscope.
Often, a biopsy specimen (tiny bits of tissue) is taken for microscopic examination. If you have a polyp, it may be removed by electrocautery through the colonoscope. You will not feel any sensation or discomfort when the biopsy is performed or the polyp is removed.
Many people do not recall any of the procedure because of the effect of the medicine. After the procedure, you will probably feel drowsy and may sleep for a short time. You may feel some bloating from the air inserted during the procedure. You will feel more comfortable if you expel this air.
Before you leave, Dr. Obioha will discuss the findings with you. The GI nurse or technician will give you written instructions to follow when you get home. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask Dr. Obioha, the GI nurse, or the technician.
If you have an increased risk of colon cancer or if you’re due for a routine screening, call Digestive Disease Clinic, LLC to schedule your appointment today.