July 1, 2009 -- Question: What are the key things to know about colonoscopies for men?
Answer: Colonoscopy is a procedure where we check the inside of the colon looking for evidence for colon cancer and other colon diseases. This is a very simple test but does require some preparation. It is performed by an expert in colonoscopy. The colonoscope is a long narrow tube that is very flexible and can bend and move with the contours of the colon.
The patient is often sedated to some extent before the test. A special preparation is required because the colon must be very clean in order to have an effective test. This test takes 30 to 60 minutes to perform and is generally done without complication. During the procedure men will sometimes have small pieces of tissue taken if there is a suspicion that this may be a cancer or a polyp. This is one of the main ways that we screen for colon cancer, and it is quite effective in preventing colon cancer by removing those polyps that might later turn out to develop into cancer.