People don’t like to think about it. They certainly don’t want to talk about it. But colon cancer is the third leading cause of death for people over 50. So the importance of colonoscopies — screenings for abnormal growths and cancers in colons — is something we just can’t ignore.
The good news is that colon problems are very treatable if caught early. And getting a colonoscopy will reduce your risk of dying from colon cancer by 90 percent.
Still, people tend to wait until they have symptoms — like changes in bowel habits, blood in the stool, weight loss — before going to the doctor. The reasons for hesitation are understandable. But embarrassment, worry over hemorrhoids, and fear that they might find something shouldn’t stop you from getting this crucial screening.
If you find yourself feeling uncomfortable, remember tests like these are just what specialists do and even enjoy doing — every day. It’s their job. And they’re here to help.
And here’s even more good news. If your screening is clear at age 50, you probably won’t be asked to have another for 10 years. And most health insurance plans pay for these at 50 and above.
People can prep for the procedure in different ways to make it easy. First, you have to be cleaned out so they can see the inside of your colon. Then, you take light sedation and sleep through the whole thing, feeling nothing at all. It’s a breeze. Really.
You may come out free and clear. Or any growths, or polyps, found will be removed at the time of the procedure and sent to pathology for testing.
Everyone over 50 should get this test. Do it for your family, for your husband, for your kids. And have your husband do it for you. A colonoscopy for Christmas? Not as silly as it sounds.
Find out more about colorectal screenings from St.Vincent here.