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Don’t Die of Colorectal Cancer; Get Screened Today

photo of paper with colon cancer and dark blue ribbon | GI NorthWhen abnormal cells in the colon and/or rectum begin to destructively divide, a malignant tumor can form, resulting in a diagnosis of colorectal cancer. These cancers often begin as a polyp that grows in the tissues lining the colon and rectum. Most polyps are not cancerous, but an adenoma type of polyp can be precancerous and does have an increased risk of turning into a cancerous tumor.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer disease in the United States, which is why having regular colonoscopy screenings is very important, especially for people over the age of 50 or those with a family history of the disease. Undergoing a colonoscopy for colorectal cancer at intervals advised by your physician is critical, because 90% of cancers detected during these screenings are curable when they are found at an early stage.

Colonoscopy Screenings

colonoscopy is an outpatient procedure conducted by a gastroenterologist to view the inner lining of your entire colon and part of your small intestine. A colonoscope, which is a thin, flexible tube, has a tiny video camera and light attached, allowing your doctor at GI North to discover any polyps, tumors, ulcers, or other areas of inflamed tissue or bleeding throughout your rectum and colon. A video and still photos are taken as the colonoscope is guided through your colon. If anything suspicious is found during the colonoscopy, a sample of tissue or abnormal growth will be taken at that time.

The colonoscopy procedure is performed at GI North by Dr. Cofrancesco or Dr. Quijano. Before the screening begins, you will be given a sedative and pain medication to ensure your comfort, and the medical staff will monitor your vitals throughout the procedure. There is a period of preparation that patients must undergo a day or two prior to a colonoscopy. Both of the gastroenterologists at GI North have specific bowel prep instructions for their patients that will usually involve a clear liquid diet and specific laxatives to take by mouth or enema, as the colon must be completely cleansed before the procedure takes place.

Cologuard Screenings

Though a colonoscopy is the gold standard for detecting colorectal cancer and other related health issues of the digestive tract, some patients desire a less invasive screening method. The physicians at GI North offer patients the Cologuard test an an alternative to a colonoscopy when certain criteria can be met, such as having no family history of colon cancer and no known bowel diseases or syndromes in addition to other standards. Cologuard is used to look for abnormal cells in the colon by examining a single stool sample that is mailed to a lab for testing. Your physician will consult with you when the results are received.

GI North is located in Cumming, Georgia. Our gastroenterologists and their staff are prepared to serve patients from the surrounding areas such as Roswell, Alpharetta, Milton, Duluth, Canton, Suwanee, Sandy Springs, Marietta and beyond. Dr. Simon Cofrancesco opened GI North in 2011 after serving as Chief of Staff at Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center. Dr. Sergio Quijano hails from Lima, Peru, and is fluent in Spanish. He is double board-certified in internal medicine and gastroenterology.

This article is not meant to take the place of professional medical advice. If you suffer from peptic ulcer disease, need a colonoscopy, or are experiencing gastric distress, contact GI North at 404.446.0600 to schedule an appointment.

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