The American Cancer Society predicts well over 100,000 new cases of colorectal cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year alone. Of those individuals, about 50,000 will die. Experts know that the best way to prevent colon cancer is by getting your recommended colonoscopy. Unfortunately, some misinformation about this procedure keeps many from getting the screening done when they should.
Current recommendations state that adults with low risk should begin colon cancer screening at age 50. If no polyps are found, you may be able to wait up to 10 years for the next test. Your physician will advise you of your recommended schedule. Those with higher risk due to family history of colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, or a history of polyps will need to get screened more frequently.
Arm yourself with the facts about colonoscopy and help prevent this cancer from affecting you or your loved ones. Here’s what you need to know:
- The prep is the most challenging part, but it is over quickly. Prepping for a colonoscopy is critically important to the accuracy of the test. If your bowel is not completely emptied before the procedure, your gastroenterologist may not be able to clearly see every part of the colon. Today, there are more prep options that are easier to take than in the past, so your physician will talk with you about what might work best. Typically, the prep is only done the day before and the morning of the procedure. Many people choose to do their prep on a day that they don’t have to work, making it much less intrusive to your daily life. Think of it as just one day of discomfort that could save your life.
- Your staff will do everything possible to keep you comfortable. The procedure itself is not painful for most patients. You will most likely be put in a “twilight state” with some anesthesia, which will make you feel relaxed. Afterward, many people do not remember the procedure at all. The gastroenterologist, nurse, and providers who assist with your procedure will work hard to make you feel at ease throughout the entire process.
- You need a colonoscopy, even if you don’t have a family history of colon cancer. It’s true that family history increases your risk of colorectal cancer, but any man or woman has a 1 in 20 risk of getting it in their lifetime. It is the third leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. and many cases of colorectal cancer occur in people with no known risk factors, so get screened!
Don’t fear the myths about colonoscopy. Today’s procedures are advanced and designed to keep you comfortable. Most people who have had this procedure feel peace of mind afterwards, knowing they have taken an important preventive health measure.
Gastroenterology at CarePoint Health
At CarePoint Health, our skilled gastroenterologists treat a wide range of gastrointestinal conditions using state-of-the-art technology in a compassionate, caring environment. For more information about our comprehensive gastroenterology services including colorectal cancer screening, please contact us.
Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.