Sigmoidoscopy (Anoscopy, Proctoscopy)
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Colon Cancer: Which Screening Test Should I Have?
Why It Is Done
These tests are done to:
- Detect problems or diseases of the anus,
rectum, or lower large intestine (sigmoid colon). These tests are often done to
investigate symptoms such as unexplained bleeding from the rectum, long-lasting
diarrhea or constipation, blood or pus in the stool, or lower abdominal
- Remove polyps or hemorrhoids.
- Monitor the growth of polyps or the treatment of
inflammatory bowel disease.
- Screen for
colon cancer or polyps.
How To Prepare
Usually, no preparation is needed for an
Proctoscopy and sigmoidoscopy
Test preparation for
a proctoscopy and
sigmoidoscopy may be similar. Before the test:
- Talk with your doctor to find out if you need
to stop taking some medicines, such as warfarin, before the test.
- Tell your doctor if you have a history of intestinal problems or had surgery recently.
The preparation for these tests usually involves a
thorough cleaning of the lower colon, because it must be completely clear of
stool (feces). Even a small amount of fecal material can affect the accuracy of
- You may be instructed to follow a
liquid diet for 1 to 2 days before the
- You may be instructed to not eat for up to 12 hours before
- You may need to have two enemas before the examination.
- You may not need
special preparation, especially if you have watery or bloody diarrhea.
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have
regarding the need for this test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the
results may mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out
medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
How It Is Done
You will most likely lie on your left side
during the test. You may also be asked to kneel on the table with your bottom
raised in the air.