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colonoscopy
 

The colon, or large bowel, is the last portion of the digestive tract.  It is a hollow tube that starts at the end of the small intestine and ends at the rectum and anus. The colon is about 5 feet long, and its main function is to store unabsorbed food waste and absorb water and other body fluids before the waste is eliminated as stool.

 

A Colonoscopy is used to visually examine the entire colon and rectum for abnormalities.  This is generally considered the procedure of choice for colon cancer screening. During the exam, a long, flexible tube called a colonoscope is inserted into the rectum. A tiny video camera at its tip allows the physician to view the inside of the patient’s colon. 

 

  • A colonoscopy may be conducted for the following reasons:
  • identify and remove pre-cancerous growths (polyps) before they become cancer
  • diagnose colorectal cancers
  • identify and stop the source of lower intestinal bleeding
  • investigate causes for changes in bowel habits
  • investigate causes of lower abdominal pain
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