What is Colonoscopy and Colon Polyps?
Colonoscopy; Excess weight, smoking, alcohol, unhealthy diet and familial factors have become increasingly common in recent years, and colon cancer ranks second among the most common cancers in men and women in our country. Gastroenterology Specialist Prof. Dr. Selcuk Femininestating that colon cancer is a preventable cancer, “Colon polyps can be found in our intestines without any symptoms. They carry the risk of colon cancer according to their location, number, size and type. Today, when colon polyps, which are found in about 1 out of every 4 people over the age of 50 and are more common in men, are detected and removed during colonoscopy, cancer is also prevented. For this reason, it is life-saving to have colonoscopy at intervals recommended by the physician, starting from the age of 50. He explained the 5 wrongs that are thought to be right in society about colon polyps.
1- It is unnecessary to have a colonoscopy when I have no complaints.
You may need to have a colonoscopy without any complaints. Because colon polyps, which can be the leading indicator of colon cancer, can be found in our intestines without any symptoms. They also show no signs in the abdominal examination performed by your doctor. For this reason, the large intestines should be examined by endoscopic methods with a light camera, even if there is no complaint in high-risk individuals at younger ages and over 50 years of age. This method, called colonoscopy, should be performed regularly at intervals recommended by your physician.
2- I eat healthy, I exercise. I don’t have colon polyps
Especially being 50 years old and over, male gender, being overweight, smoking and drinking alcohol, having a family history of colon polyps or colon cancer increase the risk of colon polyps. In other words, a 50-year-old person has a higher risk of having colon polyps than a 40-year-old person, and overweight individuals encounter more colon polyps than lean individuals. This rate is slightly higher in men. Consuming fibrous foods, greens, legumes and fruits, Mediterranean diet, and reducing red meat consumption can reduce the risk of colon polyps, but they certainly do not eliminate it.
3- Colonoscopy can damage my intestines
Colonoscopy has been used in medicine since 1806 until today by improving its technique, quality and capacity. Of course, every interventional procedure may have risks that vary according to the age of the patient and existing comorbidities. However, this remains at very low rates today. Risks such as the frequently asked ‘intestinal perforation’ are actually reported as one in ten thousand. Moreover, thanks to the developing medical technology, it is possible to successfully treat conditions such as bleeding and perforation, although rare, during colonoscopy.
4- It is okay if I have other tests instead of colonoscopy.
Currently, there is no equivalent alternative to colonoscopy to evaluate the internal structure of the intestine. Advanced methods such as capsule endoscopy or advanced radiological examinations (such as Computerized Tomography) can of course be used in the evaluation of the large intestine. However, these are indirect, only diagnostic and less troublesome methods, which are controversial. Moreover, even if these methods are performed, colonoscopy may be required for definitive diagnosis, biopsy or treatment.
5- I had a colonoscopy once, I don’t need to have it done again
Stating that intestinal polyps can recur, each polyp has a unique substructure, and its character and behavior change according to its location, number, type, Prof. Dr. Selcuk Dişibeyaz said:
“Therefore, according to the results of the colonoscopy, it should be taken when these polyps are seen, by having regular colonoscopy at certain time intervals to be specified by the physician. Inflammatory diseases and vascular diseases of the intestine also require endoscopic follow-up at regular intervals. Having multiple colonoscopies is not a threat to health, on the contrary, it is protective, preventive and curative against bowel cancer.”