Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
What is a Sigmoidoscopy?
Carolyn Vachani, MSN, RN, AOCN, OncoLink's Clinical Trials Coordinator, responds:
A sigmoidoscopy is a procedure that utilizes a sigmoidoscope to examine the rectum and the first portion of the colon. It is important to note, this procedure does not evaluate the entire colon. The sigmoidoscope is a long, slender, flexible tube that contains a light and a camera. When inserted into the rectum, the bowel wall can be visualized with the camera, and projected onto a television screen that the doctor can see. In order to see the bowel wall, the patient must undergo a bowel preparation the day before the test. This may include a laxative, enema, and a clear liquid diet. The American Cancer Society recommends that people over 50 have this test every 5 years, or a colonoscope every 10 years.
May 22, 2012 - Screening with flexible sigmoidoscopy correlates with significant reductions in the incidence of distal and proximal colorectal cancer and in distal colorectal cancer mortality, according to a study published online May 21 in the New England Journal of Medicine to coincide with presentation at the annual Digestive Disease Week, held from May 19 to 22 in San Diego.
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