If you have a personal history of adenoma(s) or a significant family history
of colon cancer, your health care provider may refer you directly for colonoscopy. You may also be referred for colonoscopy following an abnormal
fecal immunochemical test. In both cases, a patient coordinator in your community will discuss the procedure with you.
Colonoscopy is a procedure where a health care provider uses a flexible tube with a miniature camera attached to view the inside lining of your rectum and colon. During the test, your health care provider can find and remove most polyps and some cancers.
As with any medical procedure, colonoscopy has a small risk of complications.
Approximately 5/1,000 people will have a serious complication. Complications can include a reaction to the bowel preparation or medication used for sedation, heart or lung problems, an infection, bleeding from the colon, and/or perforation of the colon (hole in the colon).
If a complication occurs, treatment including antibiotics, blood transfusion, hospitalization, repeat colonoscopy, or surgery may be required. The risk of dying from colonoscopy is less than 1/14,000. There is also a risk of missing a significant abnormality. This occurs in less than 1/10 cases.
Certain cancers may never cause any symptoms or affect life expectancy or quality of life. However, research shows that most colon cancers are harmful and that colon cancer should be detected and treated as early as possible.