Don’t Put It Off Another Year - PIH Health - Whittier, CA

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Healthy Living Online

Published on March 02, 2015

Colonoscopy - Don't Put it Off Another Year

Don’t Put It Off Another Year

Next to nutritious eating and regular exercise, one of the best things you can do to ensure your health is to see your doctor for regular health screenings. Screenings can help ensure early detection of the many types of maladies, including colon cancer. Fortunately, a colonoscopy is an excellent way to prevent colorectal cancer from forming.

PIH Health gastroenterologist Neal M. Shindel MD said, “Colon cancer begins as a small, abnormal growth, also known as a polyp. Most people have no idea they even have polyps unless they experience a change in bowel habits or bleeding, but often there are no symptoms. That’s why it’s so important to get screened.”

Who Should Be Screened?

All adults (men and women) over 50 years old should be screened for colorectal cancer. The good news is, colon cancer and rectal cancer can be prevented. The key is to detect abnormalities early, when they are most curable.

That means, if you are 50 years old or older and at average risk, it’s time to schedule a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy is a test that your doctor uses to look at the inner lining of your large intestine. He or she will use a colonoscope, which is a thin, flexible tube with a camera attached, to look for precancerous growths in the colon or rectum (polyps). Your doctor will usually remove any polyps discovered during the procedure or may take a tissue sample for further testing. If you are at average risk, this test should be performed every 10 years.

Do Colonoscopies Cause Discomfort?

Most people don’t find this exam painful, but it can cause some discomfort. That’s why most patients are given medicine to help them sleep through it, so they don’t feel anything. Fear should not be a reason to postpone this important test. Especially since it can prevent colon cancer and rectal cancer from even taking hold.

A colonoscopy is just one of a few screening procedures your doctor may use to check for colon cancer. He also may recommend a sigmoidoscopy, stool tests or computed tomographic colonography, depending on your risks and preferences. 

If you’re over 50 or have a family history of colon cancer, call the PIH Health Colon Cancer Prevention Program at 562.945.4754 to schedule your colonoscopy today.

In addition to colonoscopies, PIH Health offers other screening tests to combat the most common forms of cancer facing our community. To see the recommendations for breast cancer screenings, check out our mammograms blog. For recommendations on lung cancer screenings, check out the smoking risks blog. Both are found on PIHHealth.org.

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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