Duke’s physicians place a special emphasis on colon cancer screening and prevention.
All persons over the age of 50 need a colonoscopy to screen for colon cancer.
Colonoscopy enables the physician to examine the lining of the colon (large intestine) for abnormalities. It is also used to diagnose the causes of unexplained changes in bowel habits. This procedure enables the physician to see inflamed tissue, abnormal growths, ulcers, and bleeding.
A type of colon polyp called an adenomatous polyp is the precursor of colon cancer. If a polyp is seen, it will be removed.
Using Duke’s expertise in endoscopy, mucosal resection of pre-malignant gastrointestinal lesions is also offered.
Preparing for a Colonoscopy: Watch a video featuring Joanne A. P. Wilson, MD. She explains what to expect before, during, and after the procedure.
To begin, the patient lies on his or her side. The patient may be given a mild sedative as well as pain medication to keep them comfortable and help them to relax and tolerate any discomfort.
The physician will insert a long, flexible, lighted tube (colonoscope) into the rectum and slowly guide it into the colon. The scope transmits an image of the inside of the colon, so the physician can carefully examine its lining. The scope also blows air into the colon, inflating it to increase visibility for the physician.
If anything abnormal is found, the physician can perform a removal procedure using small instruments passed through the scope (biopsy). The tissue is then sent to a lab for testing.
The procedure itself takes 30 to 60 minutes, although the patient should plan on two to three hours for registration, preparation, and recovery. The patient must arrange for someone to drive them home afterward because of the sedatives.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 919-684-6437.
Information for referring physicians can be found on the Appointments and Referrals page.
Physicians offering this service include:
This service is available at: