Colonoscopy, It’s Better Than You ThinkPosted by hcgh_md on Mar 14, 2017 in Health, Screenings | 0 comments
Between hearing the dreaded prep stories and the thought of having a device inserted into your bottom, it’s no wonder you’re probably questioning … is colonoscopy screening really necessary?
Yes, it is! According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States and the third most common cancer in men and women. Yet, it’s one of the most curable types of gastrointestinal cancer, if detected early.
It all starts with a small polyp that grows in the colon’s lining. If untreated, the polyp grows larger and larger, to the point of becoming cancerous. When it’s at that point, the cancer starts to spread.
Now knowing why it’s necessary, let’s get to the truth behind the myths.
The prep drink tastes awful and you have to drink a lot of it.
While it might not taste like your favorite beverage, the good news is bowel prep has become easier. Products have greatly improved, as recently as within the last few years, and many physicians are prescribing a split dose – half the night before and half the morning of the procedure.
Expect to live in the bathroom.
To say you will live in the bathroom during your prep is an exaggeration, but you will visit it often, so it’s best that you spend your time in a comfortable setting with a bathroom close by.
No food the day before your procedure.
Not exactly, though you can expect to be on a limited diet. Physicians will typically instruct you to only eat a light breakfast and lunch before noon. After noon, you can expect to be on a clear liquids diet, but don’t worry, it’s not just water. You can drink your favorite juices, tea, coffee (without cream), soda and indulge your sweet tooth with jello, popsicles and Italian ices, so long as they don’t include pieces of fruit.
The goal is to have a clean colon so the physician can easily detect any polyps.
Having a device inserted in your bottom must hurt.
The device is a colonoscope. It’s a flexible camera that can easily move through the colon, allowing the physician to examine your colon and detect and remove any polyps.
While this may sound uncomfortable, you’ll be given a sedative before the procedure, so that you’re in a comfortable, drowsy, twilight sleep while this is happening. You probably won’t even remember the procedure when you wake up or feel any discomfort – most don’t.
No symptoms, no family history means no need for screening.
Colon cancer typically starts as precancerous growths. Precancerous growths don’t usually display symptoms, so feeling fine doesn’t exempt you from getting screened. And, if you think you can escape colon cancer because it doesn’t run in your family, think again. Everyone is at risk.
Screening should start at age 50 and younger if you do have a family history of colon cancer or if you are African-American or Eastern European Jewish decent.
Don’t let myths or fears stop you from getting screened. If you have additional question and concerns, speak with your physician. But if you’re ready to get screened, make an appointment with our physicians.