After heart disease, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the US. Colon Cancer is the third most common cancer in the US and the second leading cause of all cancer-related deaths. Scary numbers. While there is some good news from 1999 to 2019, cancer death rates went down 27%. This is in a large part to early recognition from screening. More information is available at this CDC link.
This blog alerts readers to the value of early screening. Initial screening with a colonoscopy for colon cancer is recommended starting at age 45 and every 10 years, if negative until you’re 75.
Colon cancer does not discriminate by age. Are you at high risk? This is something you may not be able to determine on your own, find out, please. Early detection makes a large difference. Screening with a colonoscopy is important for those with a family history of colon cancer, those with polyps, chronic bowel conditions including inflammatory bowel disease.
If you have gastrointestinal symptoms, this procedure, allows a direct look ‘up’ your colon. Direct visualization is better than any imaging study, I include CAT scan and MRI study.
If you are having symptoms a colonoscopy may be recommended. Rectal bleeding pain, irregular bowel habits, weight loss are just a few of the common symptoms. While looking up your colon, the physician might biopsy – remove a polyp or take a bite’ out of a suspicious area of the bowel lining. This is termed a biopsy. Some polyps are precancerous, that is if left could with time degenerate to cancer. At present, there is no way to tell it would take 1 year or 15 years.
Everything you’d heard about preparing for this examination – looking up your colon from the rectum probably, is no longer true. The process of preparing your colon by emptying it has been simplified. A ‘prep fluid’ is now a smaller volume and does not need to be drunk all at once. The total volume of some preps now is down from 4 to 2 Liters, and some brands even have flavors available. I suggest using a straw to protect your tongue from the taste.
The procedure is quick 30 minutes, you’ll be comfortably sedated, much like taking a nap, you’ll wake up alert. If there are no abnormalities you will not need to go thru this again for 10 years.
Schedule today to get screened!