Some thoughts on a messy procedure:
Polyps- Not necessarily a problem, as most are not cancerous or precancerous, but are removed (simple snip from the instrument) as a caution.
Indications of possible problems- Diarrhea, Pain, Blood in stool, genetics,
changes in bowel habits, or previous history. Often, ulcers cause blood. The procedure determines this.
Preparation- Typically brand "Colyte"... a gallon (4 liters?), often offered with flavor packet. Forces a "flushing" of the digestive tract. Until a few years ago, an alternate prep was "Phospho Soda" a "Fleet" branded phosphate mix that causes the same type of "flushing" effect. This was withdrawn from the OTC market by the company after reports of kidney damage. I believe there are some alternates offered, although none of the three doctors that I have had, would authorize them.
Prep failure- As mentioned many times in previous posts, incomplete cleansing may require "retake". Incomplete cleaning does not necessarily mean the doctor will not complete the colonoscopy, but remnants of stool in the system could mean that possible problems could be missed.
What happens "if" cancerous or pre cancerous polyps are found? The polyp will be tested for cancer cells. A positive result may require additional testing of adjacent tissues.
In my case, "more than 20 years ago", in an abundance of caution, the solution was a "sigmoid section", in which 6 inches of colon was removed, and the upper and lower sections of that part, rejoined. The operation was a 4 hour procedure, with a 6 inch scar, and recovery, that took about 8 weeks. Shortly after this, newer less invasive surgery was introduced, whereby, in cases of early discovery, the operation might not require the "section".... It depends on the extent of the problem.... Early discovery can result in only a minor inconvenience.
As to cost. This is interesting... It pays to shop around. While the cost of the procedure will likely be less than $1,500, where you have it done is a very important consideration. The facility cost may be as much a $2,000
in a hospital, where an endoscopy or ambulatory clinic may have costs that are $1,000 to $2,000. Add to this the anesthesiologist fee, perhaps $250. Additional costs will be involved for poly removal or other procedures. (polyps usually found in 25% of men, and 15% of women.)
An alternative to a colonoscopy is a sigmoidoscopy, which may cost as little as $300, and can be performed in the doctor's office. This only involves a portion of the colon.
Coverage for the procedure varies by healthcare provider, and varies from state to state. Some healthcare plans offer screening for free, others, may reimburse only if polyps are found. Based on the range of costs, I believe it might be prudent to go to an endoscopy center for an estimate, especially if you are paying for the procedure yourself. IMO, respect your own physician's recommendation, but ... trust and verify.
Ambulatory healthcare centers sometimes offer special discounts on colonoscopies.
The normal disclaimer.... personal observations only... not advice.
At the least, my recommendation would be to go to WebMD or Wiki, or any good medical website, to look over the symptoms and indications.
been there: done that