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The WDGMC Endoscopy Unit is a specially designed out-patient department. It provides a pleasant and efficient environment for endoscopic procedures without the need for hospital admission.
Doctors from different specialities including gastroenterology and surgery work within the department. A number of different procedures can be performed including gastroscopies, colonoscopies, endoscopic ultrasound, double balloon endoscopy and PEGs (percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomies).
Therapeutic procedures including variceal banding, dilatations, polypectomies, fine needle aspirations, banding of haemoirrhoids and faecal transplantations are also performed.
Screening is the performing of tests to diagnose a disease or identify patients at high risk of developing a disease before a patient presents with symptoms
If we wait until a patient has symptoms of colorectal cancer the disease is often in a late stage where the treatment options are limited and survival is poor. The aim of screening is to pick up the disease either in the pre-malignant stage (i.e. before cancer has developed) or in the early stages where treatment can be curative and survival extremely good.
All patients over the age of 50 should be screened for colorectal cancer. In families with a history of cancer the screening should start 10years prior to the youngest affected family member. In some rare inherited conditions screening can start as early as the teenage years.
80% of all cancers diagnosed are in patients with NO family history. So the advice to screen applies to everyone irrespective of family history.
There are a number of different options available for screening. These include faecal occult blood (FOB) testing (testing your stool for the presence of blood) and colonoscopy. Other modalities for example barium enemas and CT colonography are not recommended as standard screening options but may be used in certain circumstances. You should discuss the pros and cons of the different options with your general practitioner or gastroenterologist.
This depends on the type of screening you select, the findings of those investigations and a number of other factors – this should be discussed with your health care provider. A general rule of thumb is every year for FOB testing and sometimes only once every 10 years with colonoscopy - depending on a number of factors which your doctor should discuss with you.
In the USA where screening has been performed for over 10years the incidence rate of colorectal cancer has dropped dramatically. This has been attributed to screening which in the USA is mainly in the form of colonoscopy.
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