A colonoscopy is an invaluable tool for diagnosing diseases of the colon and for the screening of serious conditions like colorectal cancer. Nina Paonessa, DO, of Paonessa Colon & Rectal Surgery, PC, is a highly skilled endoscopist who can identify all sizes and types of precancerous polyps during a colonoscopy. Dr. Paonessa has been very successful in removing large polyps and those that are in complicated locations. There’s no need to wait long for your colonoscopy either; call the office in Brielle or Manahawkin, New Jersey to schedule an appointment today.

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Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer in the United States among both men and women. It affects 140,000 people annually and causes 50,000 deaths. The average person has a one in 20 chance of developing colorectal cancer in his/her lifetime. This risk is increased if there is a family history of colorectal polyps or cancer, and is even higher still in those patients with a history of breast, uterine or ovarian cancer, and patients with a history of extensive inflammatory bowel disease such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s colitis. However, 80% of colorectal cancer is sporadic, meaning occurring in individuals who do NOT have any personal or family history of colorectal cancer. Although colorectal cancer may occur at any age, more than 90% of patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer are over age 40 and this risk doubles every ten years. Translated, this means that a person’s risk for developing colorectal cancer increases significantly with age.

What causes colorectal cancer?

It is generally agreed that nearly all colon and rectal cancer begins in benign polyps, called adenomas. These pre-malignant polyps, or growths, occur in the wall of the colon and/or rectum and may eventually increase in size and become cancer, or medically speaking, carcinoma. This is known as the “adenoma-carcinoma sequence”. Several factors have been mentioned in the literature that may increase a person’s risk for developing colorectal cancer and include: age, a diet high in fat and cholesterol, an inactive/sedentary lifestyle, obesity, smoking and environmental exposures.

Why might I need a colonoscopy?

You might need a colonoscopy if you have symptoms that could indicate a problem in your colon. These symptoms include:

  • Rectal bleeding
  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Abdominal or rectal pain

These symptoms can occur in many conditions, some of which, like hemorrhoids, are non-life threatening. Other causes can be more serious, like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and colorectal cancer.

What is a screening colonoscopy?

It’s a good idea to undergo a screening colonoscopy to check for the early signs of colorectal cancer (polyps) before symptoms develop. Unfortunately, the early stages of colorectal cancer don’t cause any physical signs or symptoms, so by the time you’re experiencing symptoms, the cancer is likely to be at a late or advanced stage.

Attending a screening colonoscopy at regular intervals is the best way to prevent colorectal cancer. Dr. Paonessa can review the guidelines for screening colonoscopy based upon your age, medical history, and family history, and advise you how often you need to have a screening colonoscopy.

What happens during colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy is a safe, painless procedure for which you just need light sedation. Before your colonoscopy at Paonessa Colon & Rectal Surgery, PC, you take an oral bowel cleanser that clears out your colon. This ensures there’s nothing to block the passage of the colonoscope or hide the lining of your colon.

Dr. Paonessa inserts the colonoscope into your rectum and looks at the images of your colon on a monitor. She can remove any polyps and take biopsies of any growths or tumors. She can also harvest tissue samples to test for conditions like ulcerative colitis.
You can go back to work the day after your colonoscopy. Patients often awake after the procedure without realizing it’s over because it’s so easy and painless.

To benefit from Dr. Paonessa’s skill in carrying out a colonoscopy, call Paonessa Colon & Rectal Surgery, PC, to schedule an appointment today.