The Role of Colonoscopy in Diagnosing GI Disorders
Colonoscopy is one of the most common medical procedures performed. Forty percent of colonoscopies are conducted as the standard of care for detecting colorectal cancer (CRC), while the remaining 60% are focused on diagnosing and surveillance of patients with gastrointestinal issues such as bleeding, inflammatory bowel disease and motility challenges.
Colorectal Cancer: What is It?
Colorectal cancer (CRC)—which starts in the colon or rectum—is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths globally. In the U.S., 140,000 new cases of CRC are diagnosed each year and the disease claims the lives of approximately 50,000 people annually. The lifetime risk of developing CRC is about 1 in 20—or 5%.
Through the use of colonoscopies, CRC has become one of the most preventable cancers. And that means you have the power to help protect yourself from this potentially deadly disease.
What You Can Do
In addition to maintaining a healthy weight, staying active, limiting alcohol intake, not smoking, and making healthy food choices, the most powerful tool you have in protecting yourself against CRC is a colonoscopy screening. The American Cancer Society recommends that you begin being tested for CRC at the age of 50. For those who have a higher risk of CRC—including those who have a family history of the disease—your physician might recommend you begin testing at a younger age.
In addition to colonoscopies—which are considered the most effective screening tool in preventing colon cancer—other
screening options include:
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy
- Double-contrast barium enema
- CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy)
- Guaiac-based fecal occult blood test
- Fecal immunochemical test
- Stool DNA test
It’s important that you speak with you doctor to determine which test is best for you.
Pure-Vu: Facilitating a Clear Field of Vision
In order for your colonoscopy to be optimally effective, your colon needs to be thoroughly cleaned before your physician examines the colon. This is the only way your physician can have a clear view and see potential areas of concern. So, what happens if the prep hasn’t adequately cleaned your colon? Before Pure-Vu you would have to schedule a new appointment and undergo the prep and procedure once again. But Pure-Vu is designed to help with that.
With Pure-Vu, the physician can further clean the colon during the colonoscopy procedure. The system uses fluid and air to loosen and remove any remaining fecal material.
Once the cleansing process is completed, the physician may have a clearer view of the colon during the colonoscopy procedure. It is well documented in the literature that the effectiveness of colonoscopy depends, in part, on the quality of the colonic cleansing or preparation prior to examination of the mucosa.
A properly cleansed colon results in improved visualization and higher adenoma detection rates compared to an inadequately prepped colon.1
1. Bowel preparation before colonosocopy. The Standards of Practice Committee of the ASGE. Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. Vol 81, No. 4: 2015.