Colonoscopy services offered in Florence, MA

Colonoscopy is a reliable way to detect and treat precancerous polyps before they turn into cancer. At Hampshire Gastroenterology Associates, LLC, in Florence, Massachusetts, the team of expert board-certified gastroenterologists offers colonoscopy for colon cancer screening and diagnosis of your lower gastrointestinal tract problems. Call the office to make your appointment now.

What is a colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy is a specialized exam to check your colon and rectum for problems. Your doctor can identify precancerous growths (polyps) during the exam and remove them to prevent colon cancer. 

If you already have colon cancer and it’s confined to the polyps, a colonoscopy can cure colon cancer via polyp removal. 

Most people with an average risk of colon cancer need a colonoscopy at the age of 45 and every 10 years after. People with a higher risk of colon cancer due to family history, inherited disease, or other risk factors, may need more frequent colonoscopies.

What other conditions can colonoscopy detect?

While it’s best known as a colon cancer screening method, you might need a colonoscopy if you have unexplained gastrointestinal symptoms such as: 

  • Abdominal pain
  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Bowel movement frequency changes
  • Change in your stools
  • Frequent diarrhea
  • Frequent constipation
  • Blood in your stool or on toilet paper
  • Unexpected weight loss

A colonoscopy can help to diagnose the condition behind these symptoms. 

Is a home colon cancer test a good alternative to colonoscopy?

While the television commercials make home colon cancer testing sound incredibly easy and reliable, the reality is quite different. 

Home stool tests check for certain DNA markers and blood in your stool. While both are helpful diagnostic tools, they’re not as reliable as colonoscopy. 

If you get a positive result from a home test kit, you then have to schedule a colonoscopy to determine whether you have precancerous polyps or colon cancer. A colonoscopy is also the only way to remove the polyps. 

Most insurance providers only cover one colon cancer test, so a positive result on a home stool test could leave you paying out-of-pocket for a necessary colonoscopy to verify your diagnosis or eliminate the polyps.

Home colon cancer tests can produce false negatives. You need to repeat home stool testing every three years, while most people only need a colonoscopy once every 10 years.  

Home colon cancer testing simply isn’t a good replacement for colonoscopy for all of these reasons. 

It’s not intended for people with a high risk of colon cancer and isn’t a replacement for other screening methods. At best, home testing is a prescreening tool that can combine with colonoscopy to check for colon cancer in healthy people.

How does a colonoscopy work?

Colonoscopy is an outpatient procedure. While you are under sedation, your Hampshire Gastroenterology Associates, LLC provider inserts a thin tube (colonoscope) into your anus and gently guides it through your rectum and colon to examine them through the built-in camera. 

If they discover polyps, they’ll remove them before concluding your exam. You can return home that same day, and most people go back to work the next day. 

Schedule your colonoscopy today by calling Hampshire Gastroenterology Associates, LLC today!