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Poor colonoscopy prep hides pre-cancerous polyps
Date:3/27/2012

ple are asked to stop eating solid food and to consume only clear liquids. Later in the day and the next morning, patients drink bowel-cleansing mixtures to empty the colon prior to the examination.

The test itself usually takes less than an hour, and patients are sedated during that time. Using a tiny camera, doctors are able to look at the walls of the colon in an attempt to detect polyps and other pre-cancerous growths. Once detected, those growths can be removed during the course of the colonoscopy. Patients often must miss two days of work: the day of preparation and the day of the test. Recently, the outpatient endoscopy center at Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis has begun screening patients on Saturday mornings to reduce the number of vacation days some patients have to use.

"Many patients say that the bowel preparation before the colonoscopy is the worst part of having the test, but it's also very important because in order to see polyps or cancers, we really have to be able to clearly see the entire wall of the colon," says senior author Jean S. Wang, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology. "Inadequate preparation makes that very difficult for a physician."

The researchers retrospectively studied patients who had an average risk of colon cancer and got screening colonoscopies in the outpatient endoscopy center. Individuals with a history of inflammatory bowel disease, a family history of colorectal cancer or a medical history of colon polyps were not included in the study.

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Contact: Jim Dryden
jdryden@wustl.edu
314-286-0110
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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Poor colonoscopy prep hides pre-cancerous polyps
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