Your doctor will review the results of the colonoscopy and let you know.
A colonoscopy is considered negative if the doctor finds no abnormalities in the colon.
Your doctor may recommend that you have another colonoscopy:
• In 10 years, if you are at average risk of colon cancer and have no risk factors for colon cancer other than age, or if you have small, benign polyps.
• In 1 to 7 years, depending on a number of factors: the number, size and type of polyps removed; whether you have a history of polyps in previous colonoscopies; whether you have certain genetic syndromes; or whether you have a family history of colon cancer.
If residual stool in the colon has prevented a full examination of your colon, your doctor may recommend a repeat colonoscopy. The time frame will depend on the amount of stool and the part of the colon that could be examined. Your doctor may recommend a different bowel preparation to ensure that your bowels are completely emptied before the next colonoscopy.
A colonoscopy is considered positive if the doctor finds polyps or abnormal tissue in the colon.
Most polyps are not cancerous, but some may be pre-cancerous. The polyps removed during the colonoscopy are sent to a laboratory for analysis to determine whether they are cancerous, precancerous or non-cancerous.
Depending on the size and number of polyps, you may need to undergo a more rigorous surveillance programme in the future to look for more polyps.
Problems with the examination
If your doctor is concerned about the quality of the view through the endoscope, he or she may recommend a repeat colonoscopy or a shorter time until the next colonoscopy. If your doctor has not been able to pass the microscope through the entire colon, a virtual colonoscopy may be recommended to examine the rest of the colon.