What is Colonoscopy?
Colonoscopy and polypectomy (removal of polyps) is the most powerful cancer prevention tool currently available in all of Medicine. Colonoscopy is widely-accepted as the Gold Standard in accuracy when screening for colon polyps and Colorectal Cancer. The Pezim Clinic is fully-accredited by the College of Physicians & Surgeons of British Columbia to perform colonoscopy and polypectomies in an out-of-hospital setting. Unlike in a hospital, the environment in the Clinic is quiet and unrushed, and you will receive friendly, personalized, and confidential care. We use state-of-the-art sterilization systems to provide our patients with peace of mind as they schedule their procedure. Because we have our own equipment and a dedicated Colorectal Surgeon and colonoscopy staff, we currently have the shortest time to colonoscopy in British Columbia.
At the Pezim Clinic, we see many patients seeking colonoscopies following a positive fecal immune test (FIT test), as well as those with abdominal symptoms, rectal bleeding, change in bowel habit, constipation, diarrhea or a family history of Colorectal Cancer. Some have no problems or family history at all, but they want the reassurance of colonoscopy screening. It is important to note that while a positive family history of Colorectal Cancer does increase your risk of getting it yourself, the majority of patients who develop Colorectal Cancer have no family history of the disease – they are the first in their family. So, the absence of a positive family history does not mean that you cannot get Colorectal Cancer. And this disease affects both men and women equally.
Why You May Need a Colonoscopy
Abdominal symptoms – Pain, bloating, cramps, a noisy abdomen, these may be indications that a colonoscopy is warranted.
Change in bowel movements or bowel habit including rectal bleeding – Increasing constipation, prolonged diarrhea, visible blood from the rectum all need to be properly assessed and colonoscopy may be part of that assessment.
Loss of weight, anemia, reduced energy, lack of appetite – These symptoms may be serious and should initiate a range of tests to determine if there is an underlying condition. Colonoscopy may be a test that your doctor would include in such an assessment.
Positive FIT test – A Fecal Immune Test (FIT test) is a test that quantitates the amount of hemoglobin (a break-down product of blood) in your stool. This test looks for hemoglobin in stools that appear totally normal. So it is a test to be used when screening patients who do not see blood in their stool. The power of the FIT test is that it can determine increased amounts of hemoglobin even when the stool looks normal. In British Columbia, if the amount of hemoglobin is more than 50 ng/ml, then a colonoscopy is recommended to assess the colon and rectum to determine whether there is a lesion (polyp, cancer, inflammation, etc.) that may be bleeding in such small amounts that the blood can only be detected by the FIT test, and not by the naked eye.
Family history of Colon Cancer – Depending upon the ages and distribution of family members with Colorectal Cancer (siblings versus parents versus aunts/uncles versus grandparents, etc.) your risk of developing Colorectal Cancer may be several times higher than a person without a family history. We can review your family history and give you an assessment of your risk.
Personal Reassurance – Colorectal Cancer is the #1 cause of cancer deaths amongst non-smokers in North America. The absence of a family history does not prevent you from getting this disease. A reasonable option for those without symptoms or a family history who want to do the most they can to avoid getting Colorectal Cancer is to have a colonoscopy every 10 years beginning at the age of 50.
What Makes Us Unique?
- We see patients FAST! Usually within a week or two or even the same day if the problem is urgent. We have saved thousands of years of patient waiting!
- The Pezim Clinic is fully accredited as a Non-Hospital Medical/Surgical Facility by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia.
- Dr. Pezim is a specialist Colorectal (Mayo Clinic) and General Surgeon (UBC) and a Fellow of both the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada and the American College of Surgeons.
- The team at the Pezim Clinic provides customized individual care and aims for extreme quality.
- We have world-class low complication rates.
- The Pezim Clinic is not associated with or funded by any equipment or drug manufacturer so we are free to use whatever device or medication best fits your problem.
- We maintain a wide variety of special pediatric equipment to minimize discomfort during examinations and treatment.