What is a colonoscopy?

The most common way to be screened for colon cancer is an exam called a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy is an exam done by a doctor. The doctor looks inside the colon with a long, flexible and lighted tube called a colonoscope. During a colonoscopy, polyps can be found and removed before they turn into cancer.

What is it like preparing for a colonoscopy?

To get a good look inside your colon, it is important that your colon is completely empty of any solid waste. Your doctor will give your specific instructions on how to "prepare" your colon, but in general, you will drink a gentle laxative the night before your colonoscopy. There are now several types of laxatives available in a variety of pleasant flavors. You can make the process even easier by eating a liquid diet for a few days.

For more information about colon cancer, visit our resources page.


Colorectal Cancer Screening

Clinical Summary of U.S. Preventive Task Force Recommendation