Importance of Colonoscopy - PIH Health

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Published on January 23, 2017

Importance of Colonoscopy

Importance of Colonoscopy

Jean Harvey on her horseWhen Jean Harvey turned 50, she knew it was time for her first colonoscopy. This fact was confirmed by her PIH Health primary care physician, Elisabeth Brown MD, during her yearly physical. Jean agreed to set the appointment soon and prepared to leave the doctor’s office. Fortunately, Jean was asked to watch a two-minute video and encouraged to schedule her colonoscopy appointment before leaving the office. This gentle persistence by the PIH Health team may have saved her life.

“Setting the appointment before I left was a good thing because I’m one of those people who puts things off,” said Jean, a resident of Hacienda Heights.

During the day of Jean’s colonoscopy, she saw a familiar face in the waiting room—her own primary care physician, Dr. Brown, was also there as a patient for her own colonoscopy.

“It was good to know that the PIH Health doctors don’t just give medical advice; they actually follow up on their own health, too,” said Jean.

It was fortunate that Jean didn’t procrastinate. When PIH Health Gastroenterologist Neal Shindel MD performed her colonoscopy, he found a large pre-cancerous polyp, which required a follow-up surgery to remove. According to Dr. Shindel, Jean’s case was the exception, not the norm. “Ninety-nine percent of the time, polyps found during a colonoscopy can be removed during the same procedure,” he said. “This case was uncommon in that a follow-up surgery was necessary to remove the polyp in order to prevent cancer from developing.”

“The polyp was quite large but they got it all out before it turned into cancer, which then could have required additional surgery or chemotherapy,” said Jean.

Reflecting on her experience, Jean is tremendously grateful and says she couldn’t be more impressed with her physicians, the surgery itself and the compassionate expertise demonstrated by everyone during her three-day stay at PIH Health Whittier Hospital.

“My private room was fantastic, and the nurses and staff were friendly, caring and attentive; when I pushed my call button, they were right there to help me,” said Jean. “Now I tell everyone I know that having a colonoscopy is simply not that bad and that they shouldn’t put it off. This procedure may save you a lot of headaches down the road and it might even save your life—it certainly helped me.”

Now, since her surgery, Jean is back to doing what she loves the most, spending time with family, friends and her horse.

To schedule your colonoscopy, call the PIH Health Colon Cancer Prevention Program today at 562.967.2656 or visit

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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