Colon cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in the United States.
Good news is, it's the most preventable cancer--the problem lies in those who do not get the proper screening. With appropriate screening, 90 percent of those who died from colon cancer could have lived.
When should I begin screening?
The average person should begin screening for colon cancer at the age of 50. However, if you are African American or have a family history of colon cancer you may need to be screened sooner. Speak to your Primary Care Physician about when you should be screened.
How do I get screened?
In order to be screened for colon cancer, you will likely be referred to a gastroenterologist. He or she will schedule a colonoscopy for you.
A colonoscopy is a quick, outpatient procedure--it takes about 20 minutes. Essentially, your gastroenterologist will move a very small camera throughout your colon in search of pre-cancerous polyps. If any are found, they will be removed at that time, thus preventing colon cancer.
There is some prep work involved before a colonoscopy to clear the colon, but great strides have been made in the last couple of years to make it easier.
Is there a recovery time after receiving a colonoscopy?
In short, no. Patients enjoy a nice nap during the procedure. Some people wake up afterward with a little bloating, gas and distention of the stomach but most wake up ready to eat. Typically, you can go back to work the following day.
Schedule your screening today by calling UMC Southwest Gastroenterology at 806.761.0747.