Make Sure You’re There for Life’s Big Moment
Ashley Jowett
/ Categories: WELLNESS, 2022

Make Sure You’re There for Life’s Big Moment

Schedule a screening today.

The list of things that we look forward to is long—weddings, graduations, retirements, grandchildren, and on, and on. But getting to experience all the things we look forward to requires doing something no one looks forwards to: a colonoscopy.

Before you say, “not me,” consider this: More than 53,000 people are expected to die of colon cancer this year. Half of those people could have been spared if only they received their colonoscopy at age 45.

So if you want to be there for life’s big moments, take the small step of scheduling a colonoscopy.

Are you above average? If you check any of the boxes below, you are considered above average risk for colon cancer and should speak to your doctor about your screening schedule.

  • A personal history of colorectal cancer or certain types of polyps
  • A family history of colorectal cancer
  • A personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (including ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease)
  • A confirmed or suspected hereditary colon cancer syndrome, such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or Lynch syndrome (hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer or HNPCC)
  • A personal history of getting radiation to the abdomen (belly) or pelvic area to treat a prior cancer

Why is a colonoscopy so important?
Colorectal cancer usually has no symptoms, making it tricky to diagnose. Colonoscopies allow doctors to detect and remove precancerous growths as well as detect cancer at an early stage, when treatment is usually less intensive and more successful. The earlier a cancer is detected, the greater the chance of survival.

Tanya Cowder, Director of Perioperative and Interventional Services at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center says, “From start to finish, you’ll be with us for about 2 hours. The procedure itself usually takes less than an hour. Patients are often surprised by how easy the entire experience is and are comforted by our staff, who take the time to explain the procedure, answer questions, and provide comfort, sometimes in the form of a warm blanket or simply staying by the patient’s side. At the end, you’re provided with discharge instructions, including pictures of your colon and any findings. About a week later, you receive a letter noting if you had any polyps removed, what type they were, and recommendations for when your next colon screening should be.”

When should you have a colonoscopy?
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that men and women of an average risk for colorectal cancer begin screening starting at age 45. If colonoscopy doesn’t find any signs of cancer, you should have the exam again in 10 years.  However, if you are above average risk or you’re between 76 and 85, talk to your doctor about how often you should be screened.

Why you shouldn’t wait.
Roughly one in 100 people are destined to get colorectal cancer in their lifetime even with no family history. To be sure colorectal cancer doesn’t keep you from being there for all of life’s big moments, talk to your doctor about scheduling a screening.

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