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Woman drinking water from a glass to help prepare for a colonoscopy

Getting Ready for Colonoscopy: What’s New about the “P” Word

No doubt, the dreaded “P” word can conjure up mild apprehension. We are talking, of course, about “prep”, the oh-so necessary process prior to a colonoscopy. Everyone has heard stories about it, maybe even experienced it with a prior procedure. It’s OK if you’re beginning to get a nervous knot in your stomach at the mere thought of “prep”, but we’re here to tell you times have changed, and that usually means things get better, more informed. Such is the case with “prep”.

You made the appointment. You’ve completed the hardest part.

Of course, the benefit of having a colonoscopy to check for polyps or any other potentially cancerous abnormalities within the digestive tract far outweighs the very temporary inconvenience of its “prep”. Fortunately, ongoing advancements of “prep” methods over the past few years have provided more patient-friendly approaches that make “prep” – excuse the pun – easier to swallow.

One example is the evolution away from the high volume (upwards of 12 liters) liquid solutions that had to be consumed, to the more current method of combining liquids and laxatives in a timed regimen. Another common approach is the “split” prep, where half of the regimen is consumed the day before the colonoscopy and the second half on the day of the colonoscopy. Your doctor will discuss what approach is best for you, as well as provide detailed, easy to follow written instructions for the “prep” itself.

An easier process with better results.

As we shared before, welcome side effects from “prep” advancements are an easier process for patients, as well as a higher success rate in achieving a total cleanse of the colon to ensure best screening during the procedure. Many of our patients report the “prep” was much easier than they expected, especially if they experienced their first colonoscopy.

It’s all down hill from here.  

With other surgical procedures, things can sometimes get more difficult as each step progresses. With colonoscopy, it’s the opposite. Making the appointment, doing the “prep”; that’s the heavy lifting. By the time your colonoscopy is finished, you will probably have a feeling of “is that it?” Regardless of what your screening reveals, from a practical standpoint, yes, that’s it.

Dr. Joseph Levan, Dr. Robert Howard and Dr. Thomas Beetel of Spring Ridge Surgical Specialists all perform colonoscopy at Surgical Institute of Reading, right next to the offices of Spring Ridge Surgical Specialists in Wyomissing. If you have questions about screening for colon cancer and colonoscopy, please call our offices at 610.375.0500.

– Spring Ridge Surgical Specialists

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Colorectal Cancer Screenings: Take Time to Put Yourself First

Possibly the biggest gift we can give ourselves is time. Time to smell the flowers, go for a long walk or just enjoy a laugh with friends. In our hectic lives, it’s easy to put ourselves last and not take the time we need to check in on our personal health. Even easier is to avoid taking a first step to what we know will help us in the long run. “I can do it tomorrow”, “I feel fine”, “I don’t have the time right now” are common roadblocks we might use to convince ourselves that routine health screenings just don’t fit into our busy lives right now.

Why and When to get Screened for Colorectal Cancer

At Spring Ridge Surgical Specialists, we consult with many patients who come to us hesitant to take the first step in screening for colorectal cancer, one of the most prevalent cancer types in the United States today. It’s important to point out that colorectal cancer often does not produce any symptoms until the disease is in the advanced stage. Whether referred by a family doctor, a family history of colorectal cancer, or having reached the suggested age of 50 to begin screenings, it’s natural to have many questions – some perhaps difficult or embarrassing to ask – but so important as you take an active role in your colorectal care. In this article, we’ll share basic information on the types of screenings and what you might expect with each.

What You Can Expect

The goal of any screening is to detect polyps within the gastrointestinal tract. Your doctor will discuss the screening method best for your individual health needs. If detected, the majority of polyps is usually non-cancerous and not cause for concern if promptly removed. Lab testing of the removed polyps will confirm if cancer is present or not.

  • Colonoscopy is the best test available today that doctors can utilize to detect the presence of polyps and remove them during this minimally invasive procedure.  A day before your procedure, bowel prep will need to be performed at home. During the painless procedure, you will be sedated, asleep and completely comfortable. A long, flexible tube will be inserted and guided throughout the entire colon, producing images the doctor will see on a video monitor to determine if polyps are present.
  • Digital Rectum Exam (DRE) is a painless exam your doctor performs in the office to detect polyps in the rectum or anus.
  • Fecal Occult Blood Test tests for blood in the stool that can’t be seen, but if present may indicate polyps or cancer.

Regardless of the screening method your doctor recommends for you, it’s important to ask as many questions as necessary so you fully understand the procedure. Dr. Robert Howard, Dr. Joseph Levan, and Dr. Thomas Beetel each take pride in educating patients on the benefits of colorectal cancer screenings, and what to expect during a screening procedure.

Most importantly, as an informed patient you have the power to take time for yourself and maintain your best health!

– Spring Ridge Surgical Specialists

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