Everyone over the age of 50 should be screened for colon cancer. The current recommendation is colonoscopy every ten years for those at average risk. But all colonoscopies are not created equal. By asking a few important questions, you can help assure that you get the most accurate, reliable results and have the best experience.
Don’t Hesitate to Ask.
To get the best care, you should ask these important questions of the physician performing your colonoscopy:
What training in colonoscopy did you receive?
A Board certified gastroenterologist has completed 3 years of internal medicine training after medical school, followed by an additional 2 to 3 years of subspecialty training focused exclusively on digestive diseases and endoscopy.
How many colonoscopies have you performed in the past year?
Practice does make perfect. The more times you do something, the better you get. Most full-time gastroenterologists will do over 100 colonoscopies in a year. If the answer is a much smaller number, you may want to explore other providers.
How many complications?
Many gastroenterologists have performed many thousands of colonoscopies. A colonoscopist should know the rate at which their procedures have been associated with a complication, such as perforation of the colon.
Where do you perform a colonoscopy?
Ambulatory surgery centers and hospitals must meet Medicare guidelines for outpatient procedures. Some gastroenterologists’ offices also meet these standards. A properly equipped facility is important to your well being, so ask where the test will be done.
Essential Qualifications Help Ensure Quality and Your Peace of Mind
Gastroenterologists are more than five times less likely to miss colorectal cancer during colonoscopy compared to non-specialist physicians performing colonoscopy.
Recent studies have concluded that a fully trained gastroenterologist is much more likely to adhere to the frequency for follow-up colonoscopy stated by national guidelines, and much less likely to bring patients back too soon for follow-up colonoscopies.
To learn more, Contact us at one of our 3 endoscopy locations.
Members, American College of Gastroenterology