What Steps Do I Take Two Days Before Colon Cancer Screening?

Learn How to Prepare Two Days Before Your Colon Cancer Screening

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Most colonoscopy preparation instructions don’t tell you to follow a special diet two days before the exam. However, carefully choosing what you eat during this time can make the day before the exam a little easier.

Two days before your colonoscopy, drink plenty of water and try to eat lightly. Avoid bulky, fibrous, sugary, and fatty foods such as:

  • A lot of raw vegetables, beans, peas, and lentils
  • Wheat bran cereals and bread
  • Sweets such as cakes, pies, and cookies
  • Fatty meats such as fried chicken, sausage, and bacon

The bottom line is that the day before your colonoscopy everything in your colon must come out. The less that is in your colon, to begin with, the easier it will be to completely empty it.

What Supplies Do I Need Two Days Before Colon Cancer Screening?

Two days prior to your colonoscopy is also a good time to get some supplies to make your colonoscopy preparation go more easily. Supplies include:

  • Any laxative solutions or enemas prescribed by your doctor
  • Plenty of soft, fluffy toilet paper, such as Charmin or Angel Soft
  • Tucks medicated wipes or baby wipes, to clean your anal area after each bowel movement
  • Matches and a scented candle, for the bathroom
  • Magazines or other enjoyable reading material for when you are stuck on the toilet

Why Is Good Bowel Preparation Needed for Colonoscopy?

Good bowel preparation allows for the clinician to better visualize the colon.

About 1 of 4 colonoscopies are inadequate. Inadequate colonoscopies are defined as procedures that fail to visualize polyps greater that 5 mm in size. In reality, however, clinicians usually consider visualizing more than 90 percent of such lesions a clinical success; you need good bowel preparation to ensure that your clinician can better visualize your colon and look for anything suspicious.

Inadequate bowel preparations also impair visualization of the cecum (located at the very beginning of the large intestine) and result in longer procedure times.

What to Expect on Day of Screen?

A colonoscopy is a procedure performed by a trained specialist in either a hospital or outpatient clinic. A colonoscopy is performed using a colonoscope. A colonoscope is a long flexible tube with a video camera and light at the end of it. This instrument is inserted into the rectum and used to visualize the inside of the colon.

Will I Receive Anesthesia?

Sedation during colonoscopy is a controversial subject. Many experts recommend against full anesthesia, which they claim results in hundreds of millions of dollars in excess expense each year. Keep in mind that full anesthesia requires the presence of an anesthesiologist, which is an extra expense that is not always covered by insurance.

Instead, conscious sedation has become the preferred form of anesthesia during colonoscopy. Before the procedure begins, your physician will administer a mild sedative and pain medication. This drug cocktail will relax you and block pain. Rest assured that even though semiconscious during the procedure, most people don't remember what happened.

It should be noted that some people elect not to receive any sedation during colonoscopy.


American Cancer Society Frequently Asked Questions About Colonoscopy and Sigmoidoscopy.
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