Know Before You Go
There is useful information to provide to your physician to ensure you get the most out of your visit. Before your appointment, compile the following information:
- Personal history including any instances of blood in your stool; any unusual abdominal pain; changes in your bowels, such as constipation or diarrhea; any unexpected weight loss
- Lifestyle history: have you ever smoked, are you diabetic, what is your alcohol usage, did you ever receive radiation therapy in the abdominal region
- Family history of colon cancer, if applicable
If your doctor recommends a screening test for a colonoscopy, get answers to the following questions before you leave his or her office:
- What type of screening are you recommending?
- What type of preparation will I need to do before the test?
- What different bowel preparations are available and which one do you recommend?
- Will I need someone to drive me after my screening test?
- How soon after my screening will I be given my results?
- Are there any lifestyle changes you would recommend to decrease my chances of developing colon cancer?
If your doctor detects colon cancer, ask the following questions before leaving the office:
- What stage of colon cancer do I have?
- What kind of treatments do you recommend for this stage?
- Are there risks associated with these treatments?
- What are the success rates for these treatments?
- What kinds of side effects can I expect with these treatments