Sigmoidoscopy is a procedure in which a doctor looks in your large intestine. A length of flexible tube connected to a fiberoptic camera is used. A light is transmitted through the scope to the tip by a bundle of light fibers. The doctor uses this light to look at your intestine through an eyepiece or video screen.
In Oxford Medical we do this very safe procedure for several reasons.
- Sigmoidoscopy is the best way to diagnose colon cancer—the second most common cause of cancer death in the United States.
- This procedure may also be used to help investigate problems such as bleeding, abdominal pain, or diarrhea.
- Three findings are possible from this procedure.
- You are healthy, and no other studies are needed. (Even though the sigmoidoscopy is the most important technique in the evaluation of colon cancer, a very small percentage of people with normal sigmoidoscopy findings may later be found to have colon cancer).
- A diagnosis of your particular disease is made.
- You may need additional testing, consultation, therapy, or follow-up.
- Several leading medical groups recommend routine screening of men and women aged 50 years and older for colon cancer and benign (harmless) polyps every 3-5 years. Younger people may require this procedure if they have close relatives with colon cancer.
- A similar screening procedure is known as a colonoscopy. The basic difference is that the tube goes farther up the colon with a colonoscopy.