Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in men and women, yet you can prevent it through a screening colonoscopy. Aalok Sahai, MD, has extensive experience performing colonoscopies to remove precancerous and cancerous polyps and diagnose and repair other problems in your large intestine. To learn more about colon cancer screening or to schedule a colonoscopy, call Sahai Surgical Specialists in Chandler, Arizona, or book an appointment online.
A colonoscopy is a procedure to examine the inner lining of your rectum and colon. The procedure is used to screen for colon cancer, to diagnose the cause of symptoms like bleeding and diarrhea, and to repair intestinal problems.
Dr. Sahai uses a thin, flexible tube called a colonoscope, which holds a light and a video camera. He guides the colonoscope through the length of your colon, carefully viewing the lining for signs of problems. As the scope is slowly withdrawn, he has another chance to evaluate the intestinal lining.
At any time during your colonoscopy, Dr. Sahai may insert specialized instruments through the scope, so he can remove benign or malignant polyps, take a tissue biopsy, open a blockage, stop intestinal bleeding, or repair other problems.
Colon cancer begins when cells inside polyps begin to grow abnormally. As a result, a benign colon polyp slowly turns precancerous, then develops into full-blown colon cancer. When you have a colonoscopy, polyps can be detected and removed at an early stage before they cause colon cancer.
The American Cancer Society recommends that patients at an average risk for colon cancer get their first screening at the age of 45. However, it’s important to talk with Dr. Sahai so he can assess your risk factors. If you have a high risk for colon cancer, you’ll need to have your first colonoscopy at an earlier age.
The risk factors for colon cancer include:
You also have a higher risk if you’re overweight or obese.
You need to prepare for your procedure ahead of time by cleansing your colon. You receive detailed instructions that usually ask you to follow a liquid diet and take laxatives. While this isn’t comfortable for most patients, the cleansing process is important because Dr. Sahai must be able to see the lining of your large intestine.
Before your colonoscopy, you receive sedatives or anesthesia to ensure your comfort. A colonoscopy takes about 30-60 minutes, depending on the number of polyps or problems found. When you’re finished, you stay in recovery until your anesthesia wears off, and then you go home the same day.
If you need to schedule a colonoscopy, call Sahai Surgical Specialists or use the online booking feature.