Colonoscopy. Nobody likes the idea having one, of spending a day near the bathroom to prepare, of being sedated and subjected to the indignity of a scope inserted where the sun doesn’t shine.
But a screening for colorectal cancer can save your life by finding and removing abnormal growths before they turn into cancer. Did you know that 90 percent of this cancer occurs in people 50 and older? Current recommendations are for people ages 50-75 to be screened regularly.
The good news is that a colonoscopy is not the only way to screen for colon cancer. Stool tests, a flexible sigmoidoscopy and a virtual colonoscopy using x-rays might be other options, according to the Centers for Disease Control. You should talk to your doctor about what kind of screening is right for you. It might depend on your risk factors, which include:
- Inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
- Personal or family history of colorectal cancer or polyps.
- Genetic syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis or Lynch syndrome.
- Lack of regular exercise.
- Diet low in fruits, vegetables and fiber, but high in fat.
- Overweight or obese.
- Alcohol consumption or tobacco use.
Norton Healthcare will make a presentation on colon health at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 28 at our Senior Center, 631 S. 28th St. The center also offers exercise classes and health education, powerful tools in reducing your risk.
March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness month, so there’s no better time to talk to your doctor about your options. As the following CDC video says, “No excuses – no ‘buts’ about it.”