A colonoscopy may not exactly be a walk in the park, but it’s not even close to the dreadful experience it’s often thought to be. Fear and anxiety cause far too many of those at risk to avoid this valuable screening that saves lives.
Let’s take a look at some statistics.
-The American Cancer Society reports that each year around 50,000 people in the United States die from colon (or colorectal) cancer.
-Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men and women in the U.S.
The good news is the death rate from colorectal cancer has been dropping in both men and women for several decades. The reason for this is likely thanks to more people getting a colonoscopy. During a colonoscopy, abnormal tissue growths, called polyps, can be found and removed before they develop into cancers. In addition, a colonoscopy can diagnose cancer earlier when the disease is easier to treat and still curable.
It’s true that the prepping for the screening isn’t a very pleasant experience. It includes a day of clear liquid dieting and taking laxatives to empty your system. But the procedure itself takes only 30 minutes to an hour, and most patients are given sedatives to ease any pain or discomfort. In fact, many sleep right through it. You can get back to your normal activities the next day.
Talk to your primary care physician about how often you should get a screening and the types of tests you should get.