Preventing Colorectal Cancer
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Penn Medicine staff and patients highlight the risks, treatment options and prevention measures associated with colorectal cancer, including the importance of colonoscopy screenings.
About Your Colonoscopy (Nulytely/Golytely)
What is a Colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is an examination of the lining
of the rectum and colon (the large intestine)
through a flexible tube called a colonoscope.
This allows a specially trained physician to directly
view this area and identify any abnormalities.
to Do in Advance
1. Medications, Vitamins and Supplements
To properly prepare for your procedure, you may
need to make certain changes to your daily medication
- If you take insulin, consult with your physician
about making any necessary changes in your daily
- If you take medications that contain aspirin
or other anti-inflammatory drugs (such as Motrin,
Advil, Indocin, or Feldene), we recommend that
you stop taking them seven days before your
procedure. They may increase your risk of bleeding
after removal of a polyp or a biopsy during
your colonoscopy by interfering with the normal
clotting of your blood.
- IMPORTANT: IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY TAKING COUMADIN
OR HEPARIN, YOU MUST CHECK WITH YOUR PRESCRIBING
PHYSICIAN BEFORE CHANGING OR INTERRUPTING YOUR
- Stop taking iron supplements seven days before
- Certain medications should be continued
prior to your colonoscopy. If you take cardiac
(heart) or anti-hypertensive (high blood pressure)
pills, take them as you normally do with small
sips of water.
2. In addition to changes to your medication,
you'll also need to:
- Fill your prescription for Nulytely,
a laxative your doctor will prescribe to cleanse
your bowel. This can be filled at any pharmacy.
- Bring a list of all your medications (prescription
medications, over-the-counter medications and
eye drops) with you on the day of your procedure.
You may bring the medication bottles themselves.
- Be prepared to list and describe your ALLERGIES
and REACTIONS to any medications.
3. Because you will receive a relaxing medication
during your procedure, you must arrange to have
a responsible adult pick you up and/or accompany
you home if you taking public transportation.
University of Pennsylvania Health System policy
requires that you make these arrangements, or
your procedure will not be performed. You
will need to spend several hours at the hospital
to allow time for your preparation, your examination
and your recovery. You may not operate an automobile
or other mechanical equipment until the day following
the Day Before Your Procedure
Starting at noon, do not eat solid food until
the procedure is completed. Drink clear liquids
only after noon.
- Between 5:00 and 7:00 PM, drink an 8 oz.
glass of Nulytely every 10 minutes.
- Prepare the Nulytely according to the directions
on the bottle. To improve the taste, you may
chill the Nulytely solution. When prepared as
directed, it makes a gallon of fluid (sixteen
8 oz. glasses).
If you feel full or experience nausea or significant
abdominal pain, wait before drinking the next
glass. It may be easier to drink each 8 oz. glass
rapidly rather than drinking small amounts continuously.
Drink the entire gallon of fluid. You should
begin having bowel movements within the hour.
If you are scheduled for a morning procedure,
you should have nothing by mouth (including gum
and mints) after midnight. The exception is medication
taken with small sips of water.
If you scheduled for an afternoon procedure,
you may continue drinking small quantities of
clear liquids up to 6 hours prior to your scheduled
CLEAR LIQUIDS: water, apple juice, ginger ale,
sprite, beef or chicken broth WITHOUT noodles,
coffee or tea WITHOUT cream or milk, most sodas,
sherbet, pop-sicles, and Jell-O that is not
red or orange. DO NOT DRINK ANYTHING RED OR
the Day of Your Procedure
- On the day of your colonoscopy, please come
directly to the requested location at your scheduled
arrival time and check in with the receptionist.
Plan to spend several hours at the unit to allow
time for your preparation, your procedure, and
- Before the procedure, a nurse will greet
you and assist you with changing into a hospital
gown. An IV will be placed in your arm. You
will receive relaxing medications through the
IV during the procedure. You will be lying on
your side for your colonoscopy and the flexible
tube will be passed into your rectum to view
the lining of the rectum and large intestine
(colon). The test takes approximately 30-60
minutes to complete.
- After the colonoscopy, you will be taken
to the recovery area where you will be monitored
until most of the effects of the relaxing medication
have worn off.
- You may have some cramping or bloating as
a result of the air placed into your colon during
- The Endoscopist will discuss the results
of your procedure with you prior to your discharge.
You will receive discharge instructions on the
day of the test.
- Your endoscopy report and biopsy results
will be sent to your referring physician.
If you would like to speak to a nurse regarding
your procedure or preparation, or if you need
to reschedule your procedure, please call the
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Procedure questions: 215-662-2122
To reschedule: 215-349-8222
Penn Presbyterian Medical Center
All questions: 215-662-8900
Penn Medicine Radnor
All questions: 610-902-1500
Please be aware that these instructions apply
to patients scheduled for procedures at the Hospital
of the University of Pennsylvania, Penn Presbyterian
Medical Center and Penn Medicine Radnor. However,
your doctor may give you different instructions
or procedures. If you have any questions about
your procedure, please contact your physician
at the Digestive & Liver Center.
Digestive System Illustration
Copyright A.D.A.M., Inc.