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Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
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Get to know flexible sigmoidoscopy for early detection and treatment of polyps, cancers

Cancers of the colon and rectum are common; however, early detection supports more effective treatment and a more comprehensive range of treatment options. Flexible sigmoidoscopy represents one of the screening options available at Triborough GI. Our team of seven board-certified New York City area gastroenterologists (in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Bushwick, and Staten Island) may recommend this service in conjunction with other annual screening capabilities, such as the Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT). 

The sigmoidoscopy does not always require anesthesia or sedation for comfort, but it can be helpful in certain scenarios.

The procedure generally involves: 

  • Taking cleansing enemas or bowel prep as directed by your doctor before the test
  • Inserting a short and thin sigmoidoscope tube
  • Using this flexible scope, which is equipped with a tiny camera, to examine the rectum and the end of the colon closest to the anus (the sigmoid colon)
  • Checking for benign and pre-cancerous polyps, as well as cancerous growths
  • Biopsying or removing the growths as needed

By removing any polyps, we are taking a big step toward preventing colon cancer. When not removed or treated promptly and properly, these polyps can turn into cancers. Additionally, we can use this test to diagnose and “stage” any cancers that are already present. 

Generally, the earliest cancers are staged at “0” for in situ carcinomas that have not grown beyond the innermost mucosal layer of the colon or rectum. Without treatment, the cancer can spread to other mucous layers, the outermost portion of the colon or rectum, through the wall of the colon/rectum, and into neighboring tissues or organs. Later-stage cancers have spread to the lymph nodes, distant organs (such as the liver and lungs), and distant parts of the lining of the abdominal cavity. Accurate diagnoses and “staging” help inform the most appropriate treatment recommendations or options. 

Additional testing, such as a colonoscopy, may be advised later to examine the rest of the colon if polyps or other abnormalities are detected. If some of the annual tests mentioned above come back negative, this service may be performed once every five years. To learn more about the many options for screening available at Triborough GI in Brooklyn, NY, call us at (718) 332-0600, or (718) 987-1700 for Staten Island, (718) 292-3822 for the Bronx, and (718) 821-0643 for Bushwick.

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