Colon Cancer Awareness
March is designated as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. This observation serves as a reminder for everyone to get screened for colorectal cancer.
Why is it so important to get screened for colon cancer?
One in 20 people will get colon cancer in their lifetime and colon cancer is the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Screening is important!
What if we told you colon cancer can be prevented?
Colon cancer can be prevented and PIH Health Physician Gastroenterologist, Neal M. Shindel MD, tells us how. “A colonoscopy can be a lifesaving procedure because it can prevent cancer from developing or catch it early when it is most treatable. The time it takes to have a colonoscopy screening is time well spent. I strongly encourage everyone I know to ask their doctors for a Colonoscopy screening – other screening options are not as effective and often times, if other screening tests are positive, you’ll be asked to get a colonoscopy anyway. Just get a colonoscopy the first time.”
What does it take to have this potentially life-saving procedure, a colonoscopy?
Step 1: Generally, your physician may ask you to stay on a clear liquid diet for 24 hours prior to the colonoscopy.
Step 2: A laxative drink will be prescribed, usually to be taken the evening before and the morning of the scheduled procedure.
Step 3: While at your appointment, sedative medications are given, and most patients sleep through the entire procedure.
Step 4: The visual examination of the colon and rectum takes approximately 20-30 minutes. Patient's generally awaken within a few minutes after the procedure and feel alert and ready to eat within 20-30 minutes.
You will know the results of the colonoscopy before you leave the GI Lab. A follow-up appointment will be made if there is a need to go over the findings in more detail.
Individuals with an average risk are people over 50 years of age. Individuals with a high risk are those that have a personal or family history of colon cancer or precancerous polyps or other types of diseases. High risk individuals should begin screening at age 40 or 10 years younger that the youngest affected family member.
So, do you know 20 people? Would you help save one’s life if you could?
Help spread the word about colon cancer awareness month by sharing this blog. It could help save a life. Visit PIHHealth.org/Colonoscopy to learn more or schedule an appointment by calling 562.967.2656.