Echavarria, so what do you tell your patients when you tell them that they need a colonoscopy? How do you explain to them what it is? The first thing I tell them is a colonoscopy is one of the most important tools that we have to evaluate for colon health and to look for colon cancer.
A colonoscopy is a simple test overall and involves using an instrumentthat has a fiber optic camera, that we insert through the anus, to look at the colon — which is the large bowel.
The colonoscopy usually is done to screen for colon cancer.
That means that we're looking for early cancer or we're looking for a condition that can predispose the patient to have colon cancer.
So I tell my patients that a screening test is a test that we use in people that have no symptoms — before they develop the disease and then the symptoms.
Also we can do a colonoscopy inpatients that already have symptoms like chronic diarrhea, rectal bleeding, or other symptoms that might indicatethat there's a problem going on.
Juan, the other thing that I would add is that we do this test frequently in patients with inflammatory bowel disease:ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease.
We also do this test frequently on patients that may see a little bit of blood in the stool.
Frequently those are hemorrhoids but still we need to take a look, as you mentioned, to make sure that there's no mucosal disease,polyp, or even a tumor.