Schedule a Colonoscopy
The American Cancer Society and the US Preventive Services Task Force recommends a screening colonoscopy beginning at age 45.(406) 327-4542
Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of death from cancer in the US. Screening is recommended starting at age 45 - for those at high risk and age 50 for everyone else.
The most effective way to reduce your risk of colon cancer is with screening, which can include a screening colonoscopy, or a colonoscopy to follow-up on an abnormal stool-based screening test, such as a fecal immunochemical test (FIT).
A colonoscopy can diagnose a wide range of colon conditions that cause symptoms. However, it is also important for people without symptoms. Colorectal polyps are more common with age and can sometimes become cancerous. You can not feel polyps or early-stage colorectal cancer, which is why screening is so important. Removing polyps significantly lowers cancer risk.
A referral is required to schedule a colonoscopy, please call us directly at (406) 327-4542 and we will work with your primary care provider to get a referral so we can schedule your appointment. For patients who are not able to complete a standard screening colonoscopy due to an increased risk of complications, a less invasive virtual colonoscopy can be scheduled at Advanced Imaging on the Community Medical Center campus.
What to Expect?
Your doctor and team will discuss colonoscopy preparation with you. Preparation involves a clear liquid diet the day before the procedure. You will need to drink a prescribed liquid to clean out the colon. A cleansed colon ensures that your endoscopist has a clear view.
Most people are completely comfortable and not aware they are having a procedure. You will receive a sedative to help you relax and pain medication to prevent discomfort. You lie on your left side on the exam table with your knees drawn towards your chest. The endoscopist inserts a colonoscope (a thin, flexible tube with a camera attached) into the rectum and advances it carefully to view the inside of your entire large intestine. If needed, your doctor may use special tools to remove polyps or to biopsy abnormalities.
Most people wake up and do not remember the procedure. Because you are sedated during the procedure, someone must drive you home from the appointment and stay with you during recovery. You should rest for the remainder of the day. Do not drive or do anything strenuous, such as exercise. You may experience some bloating, mild cramping, and gas. These symptoms are normal and will diminish over time. Unless your doctor says otherwise, you can resume a normal diet after the procedure.