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New Ulm Medical Center

More options for colonoscopy

Dr. Newman is a general surgeon at New Ulm Medical Center

As more Americans routinely undergo colonoscopy, cases of colorectal cancer are on the decline. Although colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed form of cancer, rates of the disease have fallen steadily over the past decade.

Colonoscopy has dramatically improved the prevention and early detection of colon cancer. To help ensure the community has access to this vital service, Kellie Newman, MD, a general surgeon at New Ulm Medical Center, has joined Karl Papierniak, MD, also a general surgeon at NUMC, in performing this procedure. Newman received special training to perform colonoscopy. Having Newman also gives women patients more options for critical medical care. Newman said many women prefer to have a woman as their health care provider and she is able to offer them an additional level of comfort.

"It's always good to have a choice," Newman said. She has been at New Ulm Medical Center for eight and a half years. "With two surgeons available to provide colonoscopy, patients have greater access to the procedure making it easier for them to get in and get their test done."

Importance of colonoscopy

Colonoscopy can help prevent colon cancer because most cases of the disease develop from noncancerous growths, or polyps, in the colon and rectum. By finding these polyps early, they can be removed before they become cancer.

To make an appointment with Kellie Newman, MD, call 507-217-5011 or go to MyChart.

"Colonoscopy is the best way to check for cancer or precancerous lesions," explained Newman. "You can actually prevent colon cancer. We believe that colon cancers start as small polyps. If we remove those while they are small and not cancer, we can prevent cancer from starting."

For patients diagnosed with colon cancer, finding the disease at an early stage when it is more treatable can increase the chance of survival. In fact, it's estimated that colonoscopy could potentially prevent about 65 percent of colorectal cancer cases.

What happens during colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy, also known as lower endoscopy, involves a lighted thin tube with a camera affixed to one end, known as a colonoscope. The colonoscope is used to examine the inside of the colon.

Before the procedure begins, patients must thoroughly cleanse their colon. In preparing for the test, they may be instructed to adjust their diet and take a medication to empty their colon. "It is essential to clean out the inside of the colon so that it can be seen well with the scope," Newman noted.

Once the bowel is prepped, most patients receive some form of sedation so they are comfortable during the procedure.

The colonoscope is then introduced through the anus and passed through the colon allowing the doctor to view its walls. During the procedure, precancerous and cancerous growths throughout the colon can be removed or biopsied.

Who needs it and when

It is recommended that men and women begin screening for colon cancer at the age of 50. Those with normal colonoscopy results do not need to repeat the test for 10 years.

"Patients with a family history of colon cancer may need to begin earlier and undergo screenings for the disease more frequently," said Newman. She added that colonoscopy is also used to check for causes of unexplained bleeding, pain and changes in bowel habits.

More options at NUMC

As demand for colonoscopy increases, New Ulm Medical Center is striving to meet the health care needs of the community.

The additional endoscopy service provided by Newman at NUMC ensures patients have better access to this important screening.

Source: New Ulm Medical Center - Health Edition
Reviewed by: Kellie Newman, MD
First Published: 02/25/2013
Last Reviewed: 02/25/2013