Colorectal Cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer death in men and women combined, and 1 in 3 Americans are not screened as recommended. The latest recommendations state that individuals with average risk should begin screenings (such as colonoscopy) at age 45. Based on your risk factors, your doctor may recommend that you begin screenings earlier.
Individuals at Higher Risk:
- African Americans
- Those with family history of cancer/polyps
- Those with inflammatory bowel diseases
- Those who have previously received radiation treatment to the abdomen/pelvic area
When colorectal cancer is found at an early stage before it has spread, the 5-year relative survival rate is about 90%. But only about 4 out of 10 colorectal cancers are found at this early stage. When cancer has spread outside the colon or rectum, survival rates are lower.
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, the CDC reported that 41% of Americans delayed or avoided medical care including screenings. Routine screenings save lives. Early detection of diseases such as cancer give you more treatment options and higher chance of successful outcomes. Please don’t delay your screenings and seek care when other medical concerns arise.
Visit your primary care doctor yearly to keep tabs on your health. It’s a great way to build a history and set benchmarks - and catch potential trouble early. Depending on your age and health, your annual exam will include certain standard screenings.
Darren Perttu, MD, FACS, is an American Board of Surgery Certified General Surgeon who can perform many surgeries and procedures, including colonoscopy conveniently at Grant Regional Health Center. Dr. Perttu and the Grant Regional Health Center surgical care team collaborates with primary care physicians as well as referring physicians to provide the most comprehensive care combined with the most advanced treatment available.
A colonoscopy is a screening that looks for polyps or growths inside your rectum and colon that could be cancerous or turn into cancer. Colonoscopies are a unique screening in the fact that getting one can sometimes PREVENT, not just detect cancer. Some polyps can be removed during the procedure. There are many myths surrounding colonoscopies. Read some of the myths and facts below.
Myth: that prep stuff is too gross to drink
Fact: today’s bowel prep can be mixed into your favorite sports drink, clear soda, or juice to help with the taste.
Myth: the prep takes forever
Fact: preparing your body for a colonoscopy begins the afternoon before your appointment.
Myth: its going to hurt
Fact: your doctor will give you a sedative to make you more comfortable. A lighted scope is inserted once you are sedated. Most patients don’t even remember the procedure.
Myth: if I’m not having cancer symptoms, i don’t need a colonoscopy.
Fact: most pre-cancers are found in people who are not having pain or symptoms. Symptoms often mean the cancer is more advanced and harder to treat.
Myth: getting a colonoscopy is humiliating
Fact: thinking about a colonoscopy might be unpleasant, but you can expect a private and respectful experience. Your care team will make you as comfortable as possible.
Myth: I can’t afford it
Fact: patients with average risk need a colonoscopy once every 10 years starting at age 45. Most people only need 3 colonoscopies in their life, and most are covered by insurance.
FACT: It isn’t a fun thing to do, but a colonoscopy could SAVE YOUR LIFE!
For more information and to schedule an appointment, call Grant Regional Community Clinic at 608.723.2131 or visit our website, grantregional.com.