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NCCN Guidelines for Patients



Rectal Cancer, Version 1.2017

Total colonoscopy

A colonoscopy is a procedure that allows your doctor

to examine your colon. A total colonoscopy is a study

of your entire large intestine. Your doctor will look for

polyps and other diseases.

You may be put on a liquid diet for 1 to 3 days before

the test. You may also take a laxative or an enema

the night before. This will clean out your intestine.

Right before the test, you may be given a sedative

to lessen any pain. As shown in

Figure 6

, you

will likely wear a hospital gown. The test will be

performed while you lie on your side.

A colonoscope is the device used for the test. Part

of it looks like a thin tube. It has a light and camera.

This part will be inserted into your anus and gently

guided through your large intestine.

To see better, gas may be pumped into your intestine

to make it bigger. You may be asked to shift a little to

help your doctor guide the device. A picture of your

colon will be viewed by your doctor on a screen. If a

polyp is found, a cutting tool will be inserted through

the tube to remove it.

A colonoscopy takes about 30 to 60 minutes.

Afterward, you may stay for another hour for any

drugs that were used to wear off. However, you’ll still

need someone to drive you home. The next day, you

will likely feel normal. If you have severe pain, bloody

stool, or weakness, contact your doctor.


Treatment planning

Total colonoscopy

Figure 6

Total colonoscopy

Your entire colon should be

examined if you have rectal

cancer. A total colonoscopy is a

procedure that allows your doctor

to look for and remove any tissue

that looks abnormal. It involves

inserting a thin device into your

body that has a light, camera, and

cutting tool.

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