Colon Cancer

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Getting Cleaned Out for a Colonoscopy

Dr. Heather Yeo Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian

A colonoscopy is a procedure that is used to screen for colon cancer by looking at the inside of the colon. This requires that the colon be “cleaned out” so that the gastroenterologist performing the procedure can have a clear look to evaluate if any polyps or masses are present.

To prepare for this procedure, your doctor will prescribe a “bowel prep” that you will drink the night before your procedure. This prep is a laxative that will cause you to have multiple loose stools prior to your procedure. It may be one of the most uncomfortable parts of the process, but it’s one of the most important. 

A colonoscopy can be a life-saving procedure, as it can detect a colon cancer at an early stage while it is still curable or find polyps that can be removed before they progress to cancer.

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Dr. Heather Yeo is a medical advisor to SurvivorNet. She is board-certified in general surgery, colon and rectal surgery, and complex general surgical oncology. She is an assistant professor of Surgery and Healthcare Policy and Research at Weill Cornell Medical College and assistant attending surgeon at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Read More

Explaining the Colonoscopy

This series breaks down why colonoscopies are so important, as unpleasant as they may seem. This screening procedure can lead to early detection, and can actually help doctors stop a cancer from growing before it starts.