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In the early stages of colon cancer, you aren’t likely to have symptoms, but you can prevent the disease or catch it early with a colonoscopy. Dr. Jeffrey Fenyves and Dr. Stephen Fry at Tri-Cities Gastroenterology recommend getting a screening colonoscopy when you reach the age of 50, or sooner if you’re at high risk. To learn more about colonoscopy, call one of their offices in Kingsport, Johnson City, and Elizabethton, Tennessee, or book an appointment online.

Colonoscopy Q & A

What is a colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is a procedure used to examine the lining of your large intestine (colon). Your doctor at Tri-Cities Gastroenterology performs the examination using a colonoscope, which is a long, thin, flexible tube that contains a camera.

As your provider gently guides the colonoscope through your rectum and colon, your doctor can see abnormalities such as inflammation, polyps, and blockages.

During your colonoscopy, your doctor can pass an instrument through the colonoscope to perform procedures such as:

  • Take tissue samples for a biopsy

  • Polypectomy or polyp removal

  • Inject medications or cauterize to control bleeding

  • Open a blockage and insert a stent to keep the colon open


Who needs a colonoscopy?

You may need a colonoscopy to determine the cause of intestinal problems such as:

  • Abdominal pain

  • Diverticulitis

  • Rectal bleeding

  • Chronic constipation

  • Diarrhea


Are you at risk for colon cancer?

The only way to prevent colon cancer is with a colonoscopy and removal of polyps found during the procedure. While polyps are often benign, colon cancer begins in polyps, so removing them is vital for preventing or treating cancer.

You should have a baseline colonoscopy when you reach the age of 50. Your doctor may recommend getting a colonoscopy before you reach 50 if you have risk factors such as:

  • Family history of colorectal cancer or polyps

  • Inflammatory bowel disease

  • Overweight

  • Diet low in fiber

  • Cigarette smoking

  • Excessive alcohol consumption


What should you expect before and during a colonoscopy?

Before a colonoscopy, you’ll need to complete a bowel cleanse so your doctor can see the intestinal walls. You’ll receive specific instructions about cleansing that may include a liquid diet and a laxative or special drink to remove waste from your colon.

Before your procedure, you’ll also discuss the types of anesthesia available and decide which one is best for you. A colonoscopy takes about 20-60 minutes, depending on whether your doctor finds polyps or other health issues. When polyps are removed, they’re sent to a lab where they’re examined to be sure they’re not cancerous.

If it’s time for your colon cancer screening or you have questions about your intestinal health, call Tri-Cities Gastroenterology or use the online booking feature to schedule a colonoscopy.


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