Will a colonoscopy prove whether I have diverticulitis or colon cancer?

This question was asked in Bay View, Ohio on 06/04/2012.
I was in the ER for mild left sided flank pain, fever of 100.4, diarrhea, and nausea. They ran labs, urine, chest xray and ct scan without contrast. Their diagnosis was diverticulitis. I am on Flagyl and Cipro for the next 7 days and told to follow up in a few days with my GP and I am already feeling better. My question is specifically will I have to have a colonoscopy after the infection clears and if so is this to confirm the diagnosis of diverticulitis? How concerned do I need to be that this could be colon cancer? Is diverticulitis easily confused with colon cancer on a CT scan? I am a female aged 44. I do not have constipation or other typical symptoms of colon cancer. My bowel movements alternate between normal and very soft depending on what I am eating.

Doctors Answers (2)

David Pound, M.D.
Answered on: 6/7/2012 1

During the colonoscopy procedure tissue or biopsies can be taken to see if there is abnormal or cancer type cells present in your colon. The fact the you are feeling better while on antibiotics lends support the the diverticulitis diagnosis.

Harsha Vittal, M.D.
Answered on: 6/5/2012 8

Everyone who has had a bout of diverticulitis should have a colonoscopy to confirm the diagnosis once the symptoms have resolved. Usually should wait about 4-6 weeks.