5 Reasons To Stop Avoiding That Colonoscopy

Medically reviewed by: Gary H. Hoffman, MD

Your Colonoscopy.  Why You Should Want To Have Your Colon Checked.

It may be an undesirable rite of passage when turning 50, to schedule your first colonoscopy.   Many people avoid the supposedly uncomfortable procedure by delaying it just a bit longer or just skipping it entirely. However, evidence proves that screening for colorectal cancer, the third most common cancer affecting both men and women, saves lives.

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According to the American Cancer Society, roughly 50,000 deaths last year were attributed to colorectal cancer, in which cancerous cells attack the colon and rectum. Advanced treatments and better screening have been credited with lowering the death rates in the last two decades.  Your proctologist, also known as a colon and rectal surgeon will help you through the procedure quickly and safely.

Who Should Get Screened?

If you are over 50, you should have a colonoscopy.  It affects men and women of any race, or ethnic background. However, the disease manifests mostly in adults over the age of 50. The CDC estimates that 60% of colorectal cancer deaths can be prevented if those 50 years and older  schedule regular screening test.

Reason #1: Fear of Bad News

Solution: Colorectal cancer is a gradually progressive disease and takes approximately 5 to 10 years to develop. By getting your check-up at suggested intervals, you increase the possibility of the disease being detected early and successfully treated. Studies show that colon cancer patients, in whom the disease was found during a colonoscopy screening, had longer survival rates than those with tumors found by other means.

Reason #2: Preparation Nightmare

Solution: You will be restricted to a clear liquid diet for around 24-hours prior to the procedure. In addition, you may be required to drink a laxative-solution. To get over the taste, drink it cold, or, ask your physician if you can add a natural flavor such as lemon, ginger, or lime. Crystal Light works as well. Newer preparations taste like an orange drink.  Further actions that might make it easier for you  are utilizing a straw for drinking the solution, staying close to a bathroom, and using flushable wipes and a salve to avoid inflammation of the anal opening.

Reason #3: Risks

Solution: Yes, it is true, colonoscopies do pose a small risk of bowel perforation.  However, the benefits of the screening are very much higher than the risks.  although fear is an understandable feeling, in this case it is unjustified.

Reason #4: Cost

Solution: The healthcare law passed in 2010 requires Medicare and private insurers to cover colonoscopies along with other colorectal cancer screenings.  Group and individual insurance plans must conform by 2014. Nonetheless, you might be billed individually for the procedure and anesthesia. Be sure to check before your screening whether the anesthesiologist is part of your insurance plan.

Reason #5: The Whole Procedure Makes You Feel Queasy

Solution: Prior to your procedure, meet and talk with the colon and rectal surgeon who will carry out the procedure. Keep in mind that the entire procedure  usually lasts 10 to 15 minutes  and you will be sedated during the colonoscopy.

Lastly, have a talk with people you trust, about your uneasiness. Talk to a family member, friend, or your physician. Many people have gone through the procedure and will share their experiences with you.

Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates

The board certified surgeons of Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates are skilled in diagnosing all problems of the colon, rectum and anus.  Your consultation and treatment are confidential and private.  By calling (310)273-2310, you can take the first step toward peace of mind.  But, you must take that first step.

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