Endoscopy and colonoscopy are procedures that allow health care professionals to diagnose diseases, including colon cancer.
Endoscopic Procedures (Endoscopies) are procedures done to see inside the colon area with a colonoscopy.
Health care providers use one of two types of endoscopic procedures to check for colon cancer and other diseases:
- A colonoscopy, which uses a colonoscope to view the entire large intestine
- A flexible sigmoidoscopy, which uses a shorter scope to examine only the last 60 centimeters (24 inches) of the colon
Both procedures allow your doctor to see any polyps or tumors in the colon and to get a sample (biopsy) of anything that looks abnormal. The colonoscope is inserted into the rectum where it travels through the colon and upper part of the small intestine, also called the small bowel. Your doctor will look at the colon through an eyepiece and may remove tissue samples for further testing in a lab.
At times, your doctor can also treat problems during colonoscopy using:
- Polypectomy : A procedure that removes colon polyps (small growths in or on the colon) to prevent cancer from developing.
- Endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) : A procedure that removes abnormal colon tissue that may be causing bleeding.
- Argon plasma coagulation (APC) : A treatment that uses a high-energy beam of argon gas to remove abnormal tissue and stop bleeding.
Diseases colonoscopy and colonoscopy can detect:
- Colon cancer
- Polyps in the colon, which can turn into colon cancer if left untreated
- Ulcers in the colon and stomach
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- H. pylori, a bacteria that colonoscopy and endoscopic procedures can detect ulcers caused by.
What colonoscopies cannot do:
- Detect some other diseases, such as Crohn’s disease.
- Check for polyps or cancers in the small intestine
- Diagnose rectal cancer