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The Brody School of Medicine
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Colorectal Health

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a colonoscopy?
During this procedure, doctors use a flexible, lighted tube with a small viewing lens to look inside the large intestine. Your intestine will be filled with a gas to make it easier to see any problems, such as inflamed tissue, ulcers or growths. These growths may be early signs of colon cancer.

Your doctor may also remove any growths, called polyps. They will be tested to make sure they are not cancerous.

How long will it take to recover?
The procedure usually takes less than an hour. You may feel bloated or have cramps, and it may take time for the sedative to wear off. You’ll need to stay at our office for 1 – 2 hours after your procedure, but can return home that day. If you have these symptoms call us immediately

  • severe abdominal pain
  • fever
  • bloody bowel movements
  • dizziness
  • weakness

Who should be screened?
Anyone more than 50 years old should have a colonoscopy to use as a benchmark. If you have any of these symptoms you should have this test regardless of your age

  • Dramatic changes in bowel habits such as diarrhea, constipation or unusual stool size
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Blood in the stool
  • Black tarry stools
  • Chronic abdominal pain
  • Unexplained anemia
  • Unexplained weight loss

Who is at risk for colorectal cancer?
There is no known cause of colorectal cancer. Some risk factors include

  • Being older than 50
  • A history of colorectal cancer
  • A history of colon polyps
  • A history of bowel disease such as ulcerative colitis
  • Family history of colorectal cancer, especially in a relative younger than 60
  • Eating a high fat diet
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Smoking
  • Lack of exercise
  • Obesity
  • Ethnicity. For instance, those of eastern Jewish descent are at greater risk
  • Familial polyposis syndrome

Will my insurance pay for screening?
We can contact your insurance company on your behalf to see what your coverage includes. Does Medicare pay for a colonoscopy or other services? Medicare pays for a colonoscopy every 10 years at and beyond at age 50. Medicare will pay for yearly fecal occult blood testing for people 50 or older. It also pays for flexible sigmoidoscopy every four years for people older than 50. The patient is responsible for 20 percent of the allowable cost after yearly part B deductible.