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Answers to Patients´ Questions

Why is a colonoscopy so crucial?

Bowel cancer is the most frequent type of cancer in Austria, with 5,000 incidences each year. Roughly 3,000 people die from it every year. By having cancer screenings on a regular basis, more than 90% of these incidences could be avoided.

Colonoscopy plays a crucial role in the prevention of colon cancer and from the age of 50 on, it is recommended to have it carried out at regular intervals; you may start at an even earlier age if you have a family history. This procedure can help to prevent bowel cancer.

When performing a colonoscopy, so called polyps (i. e. non-cancerous growths in the bowel lining) can be detected and removed in time during the screening, before they become malignant.

What are the biggest risk factors for developing bowel cancer?

  • a one-sided diet
  • overweight
  • chronic inflammation of the bowel lining
  • smoking

When may a colonoscopy be advised?

Since the changes are only coming about slowly, the affected person will in most cases not be able to recognize any typical symptoms. Should you notice one of the below indications, you definitely should seek medical advice:

  • a change in bowel habit
  • bloating
  • pain
  • involuntary dejection with winds
  • inexplicable loss of weight
  • diminished appetite
  • fatigue
  • listlessness
  • palpable hardenings in the abdomen

What happens during a colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy is considered the “gold standard” of bowel cancer screening methods. To screen the colon, a flexible tube is guided from the anus to the beginning of the small bowel, which is located in the lower right abdomen. The endoscope contains a light source and a camera, transmitting images to a monitor. Thus the lining of the bowel can be very well examined.

The screening helps to detect abnormal changes in the colon, like inflammations, polyps and tumours. Tissue samples can be taken painlessly, which will then be examined under a microscope. At the same time it is possible to remove polyps (non-cancerous growths) using a wire snare.

How to prepare for a colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy is a screening method allowing to detect even the finest changes in the walls of the colon. As the bowel has to be cleaned before the procedure, please follow the instructions given to you carefully.

Always pay kind attention to the following!

  • After consulting with your GP, you may be required to stop taking blood-thinning medication one week prior to the screening.
  • Are you diabetic? Please talk to your attending physician regarding the dosage of your medication (insulin)!
  • Are you taking the contraceptive pill? Because of having to take a laxative, it may not provide the desired level of protection!

4 days prior to the screening:

  • You may have: Coffee, tea, apple juice, white bread, jam, eggs, compote, mashed potatoes, pasta, turkey, chicken, broth, applesauce.
  • You may not have: fresh fruit, tomatoes, grapes, pulses, cabbage, cereal, coarse dark bread, long fibred meat, wholemeal products, rice, wheat bran, nuts, seeds, milk and dairy products.

The day before the screening:

  • Please do not eat anything.
  • Drink at least 4 litres of liquid.
  • Take the laxative according to the instructions.

What do I have to consider on the examination day?

  • Please do not eat or drink anything!
  • Please bring two large bath towels and a towel as well as the completed and signed patient information forms to the screening!

Since you will be given drugs (sedatives or anaesthetics), the screening will be totally painless. For the sake of patient safety a Consultant Anaesthetist will be present during the entire procedure. Typically you will be ready to leave the practice an hour after the procedure has ended.

After the screening please have a responsible adult pick you up at the practice, as the medication used for the procedure will impair your reflexes and you must not drive any vehicles.

Is it possible to combine two endoscopic investigations during one appointment?

If you wish so, both a colonoscopy and a gastroscopy may be carried out during a single appointment.

Always pay kind attention to the following!

Staying healthy as well as diagnosing and treating diseases is as singular as each individual person. This website provides some generally accepted information, which cannot substitute for a personal talk between doctor and patient.

Please make an appointment for a full, personal consultation in our practice. 

If you are unable to keep your appointment, please cancel it at least 2 clinic days in advance by telephoning us (phone +43/1/6044393). If you fail to notify us in due time, you will be charged an administration fee of EUR 100.

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