Colonoscopies play a pivotal role in the early detection and treatment of colorectal cancer, serving as a cornerstone in preventative healthcare. Generally considered a safe and routine procedure, they have been the go-to method for both screening and diagnostic purposes for decades.

However, recent research suggests that the risks associated with colonoscopies may be higher than previously thought. Here, we look at the importance of colonoscopy screenings, the risks recently identified, and the early signs of colorectal cancer to watch out for.

The Importance of Colonoscopy Screenings

When it comes to catching colorectal cancer in its early stages, a colonoscopy is an invaluable tool. It allows medical professionals to closely examine the colon and rectum for abnormalities like polyps or tumours.

In the UK, routine colonoscopy screenings are recommended starting at age 50. This practice aims to identify and treat any issues before they progress into more severe conditions, improving outcomes and survival rates.

New Study Sheds Light on the Complications of a Colonoscopy

Recent studies, including a review from the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, suggest that the risk of complications from colonoscopies may be higher than we initially believed.

These complications aren’t just limited to severe adverse effects; they also include a range of minor issues that could still significantly impact a patient’s quality of life.

Minor complications can include abdominal pain, bloating, and general discomfort. These can occur at various stages of the procedure such as during bowel preparation, when you are under anaesthetic, or as a direct result of the procedure itself.

While these symptoms usually resolve on their own, they can cause significant unease and stress. However, it’s worth noting that the risk of severe complications is still low, and choosing a skilled surgeon also reduces the risks involved.

Early Warning Signs of Colorectal Cancer

In addition to regular screenings, it’s crucial to be aware of the early warning signs of colorectal cancer. These can include:

  • Persistent abdominal pain
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue

These symptoms can be easily overlooked as they often point to less serious conditions. Therefore, it’s vital to see your doctor if you experience any of the changes mentioned above.

When colorectal cancer is caught early, the chances of successful treatment are significantly higher. The treatments are often less invasive and less taxing on the body when the disease is identified early on.

Speak to a Colonoscopy Expert

Despite the risks, a colonoscopy remains the leading choice for colorectal cancer detection. The importance of selecting a qualified and experienced specialist cannot be overstated. Their expertise can be a critical factor in minimising the risks associated with the procedure, ensuring a safer and more comfortable experience.

If you would like to discuss having a colonoscopy, schedule an appointment with Mr. Michael Stellakis. Providing you with the highest level of care, his wealth of experience will ensure your colonoscopy is as safe and comfortable as possible.