Statistics indicate that colorectal cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer diagnosed in the United States each year. Symptoms Colon Cancer Polyps Although colorectal cancer predominantly affects the elderly, the disease can also affect young adults and even children. Oncologists sustain that early diagnosis of colorectal cancer plays a major role in overcoming the disease, as prompt medical intervention considerably increases patients’ life expectancy. Thanks to medical advance, doctors can nowadays rely on various modern techniques for diagnosing colorectal cancer. Common methods used for revealing early signs of colorectal cancer are barium enemas, colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy.

Sigmoidoscopy is one of the most reliable medical procedures used in diagnosing colorectal cancer in present. Through the means of sigmoidoscopy, oncologists are able to timely detect signs of physiological abnormalities at the level of the colon. Sigmoidoscopy can be either performed with an immobile or a flexible scope, depending on the segments of the colon that require screening. However, due to the fact that rigid sigmoidoscopy provides limited visibility, doctors usually prefer using a flexible scope instead. In addition, flexible sigmoidoscopy is less likely to cause discomfort to patients. Flexible sigmoidoscopy involves using a 60-cm scope that can easily detect cancerous colonic polyps, tumors or adenomas situated in various regions of the large bowel.

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Sigmoidoscopy is primarily recommended for patients that present no clear symptoms of colorectal cancer. The procedure involves very few risks and it is well tolerated by most patients. Post-sigmoidoscopy symptoms are usually mild and disappear completely within a few hours or days. Such symptoms may include abdominal pain and bloating, internal discomfort and rarely, minor rectal injuries.

Although sigmoidoscopy is a simple procedure, it is important to note that it may not be appropriate for some patients. Sigmoidoscopy is not recommended to people who have suffered bowel surgery, people with acute peritonitis or people with acute diverticulitis. In some cases, the procedure may also be contraindicated for people who have recently suffered abdominal surgery.

Before receiving an examination with the sigmoidoscope, patients are administered bisacodyl and magnesium citrate. Combined with enemas, these medications are used for preparing the large bowel for sigmoidoscopy. The preparation treatment for sigmoidoscopy is very important for increasing the visibility inside the bowel. The actual procedure is very quick and it generally causes minimal discomfort to patients. Post-sigmoidoscopy complications are also very rare.

Corroborated with colonoscopy screening and barium enemas, sigmoidoscopy is very effective in timely spotting traces of malignant activity at the level of the large bowel. Since it has been introduced in the process of diagnosing colorectal cancers, sigmoidoscopy has considerably decreased patients’ mortality rate.

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