Colon cancer is one of the major causes of cancer-related deaths in the US. The good news is it is one of the easiest cancers to cure if detected early.
As March has been designated Colon Cancer Screening Month, now is the right time to discuss a very important colon cancer-screening procedure - Colonoscopy.
Colonoscopy can not only help identify colon cancer at a very early stage before it spreads to other parts of the body, but it can also help prevent colon cancer from developing in the first place. Regular colonoscopy screening will allow the surgeon to identify and remove precancerous lesions such as polyps before they transform into cancer.
In preparation for the procedure, you must let your doctor know about any medications you are on as these may have to be stopped or changed. You will also have to undergo bowel preparation. This may involve a special diet for 1-2 days, taking some pills, drinking fluids, or having an enema to completely clear your bowels.
The procedure itself involves the placement of a flexible tube (colonoscope), which contains a miniature camera, through the rectum into the colon. The tube is passed along the entire length of the colon to look for any evidence of cancer. Any suspicious lesion can be removed or biopsied through the colonoscope.
High risk factors for colon cancer include:
- Being above the age of 50 years
- Having a family history or personal history of colon cancer
- Having colon polyps or IBS
- Being overweight or obese
- Tobacco & alcohol use
If you belong to the high-risk category, regular colon cancer screening, which includes undergoing a colonoscopy, may be your best defense against this deadly disease. For more information, contact your doctor or any of the specialists at North Central Surgical Center.
At North Central Surgical Center, our mission is to treat each and every one of our patients, and their families, as if they were our own family member. Each patient, each family, each and every time.