There are few medical procedures that people want to avoid as much as a colonoscopy, so it’s natural for colorectal surgeon patients to ask about alternatives. Here’s some insight into alternative procedures and when a colonoscopy in Melbourne is really necessary, from a leading femalesurgeon.
What is the Point of a Colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a screening procedure to detect early signs of bowel cancer. As this is an especially aggressive cancer that offers good chances for patient recovery and survival if it is caught early, an annual colonoscopy is essential for anyone who is considered high risk. This includes people over the age of 50, people with a family history of bowel cancer and polyps, and people with irritable bowel syndrome, suffering from obesity or Crohn’s disease.
Colorectal cancer isn’t an easy disease to detect in its early stages, as the symptoms can be confused with IBS and other common bowel conditions. A yearly colonoscopy in Melbourne, where a colorectal surgeon examines the bowel and removes any polyps for lab analysis, is the single most effective way of detecting this cancer early. By detecting and treating this cancer in its early stages, colorectal surgeons can deliver a 90% 5-year survival rate for patients where the cancer is localised, compared to a 14% 5-year survival rate once the cancer has spread into the body.
As undesirable as a colonoscopy may be, it is still your best chance for detecting, treating and surviving bowel cancer. But there is a partial alternative.
The Faecal Occult Blood Test
The Faecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) is part of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program, and is supplied free of charge to all men and women in Victoria every 2 years from their 50th birthday.
This is a take-home test that can be sent directly to your home, or collected from your doctor or pharmacy. There are several versions of this test but they generally involve the same process – collecting a stool sample from each of 2-3 bowel movements in a clean container and using individual applicator sticks to apply a smear of each sample to a card, which you can send to your doctor or directly to the lab.
The analysis of the test involves looking for traces of blood in your stool. If blood is found, it is recommended that you see a colorectal surgeon (a female surgeon if you feel more comfortable) as soon as possible for a colonoscopy in Melbourne.
As no test is 100% reliable, the FOBT is generally recommended to people with low or average bowel cancer risks, and completing one each year can reduce your risk of dying of bowel cancer by a third. It is a useful and accessible way of screening for bowel cancer that is highly recommended by colorectal surgeons.
Book Your Colonoscopy in Melbourne with a Female Surgeon
If you feel more comfortable with a female surgeon performing your colonoscopy in Melbourne, Dr Naseem is ready to assist you. A specialist in the field with many years of experience, Dr Naseem is a colorectal surgeon dedicated to fighting colorectal cancers by providing accessible comfortable and professional screening and treatment services.