3 Reasons to Schedule a Colonoscopy Today
While a colonoscopy may not be the most popular procedure, it is the most effective screening tool we have in the fight against colon cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer related deaths in men and women in the United States and it is estimated more than 106,000 new cases will be diagnosed this year alone.
Patients often avoid colonoscopies because of unnecessary fear or misconceptions about the test, but the truth is, they are low-risk and highly effective in preventing colon cancer. Here are three important facts that may change your perspective on this important procedure.
It can save your life.
Studies show a colonoscopy can detect 94% of all colon cancers. The procedure is crucial, as polyps and other irregularities usually do not cause symptoms until the disease becomes advanced. This means you can’t rely on your body to alert you that something is wrong before it’s too late. Colonoscopies also detect different types of inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and diverticulitis. If left unchecked, these diseases can lead to colon cancer and other serious conditions.
It’s not as bad as you think.
Colonoscopies aren’t as uncomfortable as you may have heard. You may be familiar with the unpopular preparation process requiring the patient to start a liquid diet the day before and drink a solution to clean out the colon. While this sounds unpleasant, the preparation has been greatly streamlined over the last few years to cause as little discomfort as possible. The actual colonoscopy is quick (the entire procedure takes about 15 minutes) and painless, although it’s common for doctors to offer anesthesia or other sedatives for relaxation.
It can provide peace of mind.
The American Cancer Society recommends regular screenings begin at age 45 and colonoscopies are recommended every five or ten years depending on your family history or other risk factors. It’s unlikely cancer will develop in the digestive tract sooner than this, so once the procedure is complete, you can breathe a sigh of relief.
While the hesitation around scheduling a colonoscopy is understandable, the benefits are clear. This procedure is the primary reason there are more than 1.5 million survivors of colorectal cancer in the United States today.
Talk with your physician about scheduling your next colonoscopy at Morgan Medical Center. If you don’t have a primary care physician, one of our doctors can help.