Colorectal cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths in this country and the 3rd most common cancer among men and woman. And like so many cancer deaths, it is preventable if caught early. You can do that by having a colonoscopy, starting at the age of 50, if you have no family history of colon cancer, age 40 if you do.
I know it doesn't sound appealing, but it's something that could save your life. It's This Avera Medical Minute.
In August Ann Burns went in for her first colonoscopy. She had no family history of colon cancer, she was at the recommended age, and the Avera Gastroenterologist Clinic in Sioux Falls just got their first woman Gastroenterologist, Dr. Cristina Hill Jensen.
Ann told us it was actually easier than some of the other annual exams she goes through like her mammogram and pap smear. She says, " The prep isn't very enjoyable, but the feeling of reassurance I had when the colonoscopy was over and everything looks good, made it all worth it."
Since Ann's colon was free of any polyps, she won't have to get another colonoscopy for 10 years. Dr. Hill Jensen says since 1 in 18 people will get colon cancer screening is essential. Dr. Hill Jensen says, "It is extremely important. Colon cancer can be preventable. If we screen people early enough we can get the early cancer and pre-cancer and prevent cancer."
When doctors examine the lining of your large intestine with a flexible tube with a light and a camera on the end, they are looking for polyps, which may or may not be cancerous. They will remove them during the examine and test them.
Ann says, "As a mother and wife you think nothing as our children need immunizations to protect them you just get it done. And that's really how I viewed getting the screening through a colonoscopy. It's one of the things they recommend we do to make sure we're healthy or if we do have a problem they catch it."
During the exam, Dr. Hill Jensen says you will be mildly sedated and very relaxed. She says most people complain about drinking the half gallon of liquid concoction the night before rather than the colonoscopy itself.
If you have questions call 877-at-AVERA or go to www.averamckennan.org