When the topic of scheduling a colonoscopy comes up during a doctor’s visit, many patients shudder at the thought. It’s a knee jerk reaction to learning that it’s time for a colonoscopy. Yes, a colonoscopy is not something that most people embrace with excitement and anticipation, but more importantly it’s a life-saving event. Let’s reemphasize: it’s life-saving.
With this being said, not having a colonoscopy could potentially be a life altering decision. It’s important to remember that colonoscopy is both a diagnostic and a preventative procedure for colorectal cancer, and that removing pre-cancerous polyps can actually keep you from developing cancer in the future.
Our board-certified GI specialists at La Peer Health Systems’ Colonoscopy Center of Excellence want to ensure that fear doesn’t prevent patients from receiving the testing and treatments needed to live a healthy and long life.
What Missing or Avoiding a Colonoscopy Can Mean?
It is crucial to emphasize that in about 95% of people, colorectal cancer is a preventable cancer. And sadly, it is still the number two cancer killer amongst Americans today. And the question is: Why is this so?
One reason is fear of the unknown. Most people don’t know what to expect during a colonoscopy as well as the importance of a colonoscopy. This is why it is important to speak with one of our gastroenterologists to discuss in detail the benefits of a colonoscopy, as well as the risks of the procedure itself and the sedation we provide.
The other reason is the night before prep. Truthfully, it’s the preparation the night prior that is the primary source of anxiety. The thought of guzzling the solution is no picnic. With that said, the best test to prevent colorectal cancer is the one that gets done, right?
The Role of a Colonoscopy in Fighting Colon Cancer
As scary as a colonoscopy may seem, and as unpleasant as you think the preparation for it may be, think about the risks and worry that come with the very real potential alternative to not getting screened – being diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Not only does a colonoscopy allow for colon and rectal cancers to be caught early, but a colonoscopy also detects precancerous lesions called polyps. In most individuals who have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer, the cancer derived from a polyp, which on average, takes about 7 to 10 years to grow into a cancer. A colonoscopy can stop this chain of events dead in its tracks, as the goal of the procedure is to remove polyps in real time, thereby preventing the likelihood of cancer occurring.
So, if you are turning 50 years old, it’s time to schedule your colonoscopy. Just as important, if you have a family history of a 1st degree relative with colorectal cancer or colon polyps, talk to your doctor about getting screened, because you should be screened earlier than the average-risk individual. Additionally, if you experience abdominal pain, changes in bowel movements, blood in the stool, or unexplained weight loss – don’t hesitate to schedule a colonoscopy.
Visit a Colonoscopy Specialist in Los Angeles
If you’re concerned about colon cancer, or your colorectal health in general, the best thing you can do is to schedule a colonoscopy screening with the experienced board-certified specialists at the Colonoscopy Center of Excellence. When it comes to colon cancer, early detection really does save lives. Call (888) 837-0459 for an appointment.