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No Buts About it! 8 Reasons to Stop Avoiding Your First Colonoscopy

By DuPage Medical Group Gastroenterology

When it comes to the subject of colonoscopies, do you avoid the topic at all costs? Despite having no GI symptoms, whether you are male or female and have reached age 50, your physician will remind you it is time to have your first screening colonoscopy. Rather than react with objections, fear, anxiety and avoidance, consider why you should feel grateful for the ability to outsmart the 3rd most common cancer and the 2nd leading cause of cancer death in the U.S.

  1. Colorectal cancer is one of the few types of cancer that can be prevented. The way to screen and prevent it is with a procedure called a colonoscopy. The procedure allows your physician to screen for precancerous cells, called polyps, in the lining of your large intestine and rectum. When polyps are found early and removed, your risk for developing cancer is greatly reduced.

  2. The prep is not as scary as you think. We even created a guide with tips to make it palatable. /health-topics/post/The-Colonoscopy-Survival-Guide/

  3. Patients who have no GI symptoms do not need an in-office consult before their procedure. A simple phone visit with a nurse is arranged to review your health history.

  4. In the long run, getting your colonoscopies at recommended ages will save you money. If your polyp is removed before it becomes cancerous, you will avoid treatment for colorectal cancer. This treatment could include, but is not limited to, a combination of the following: loss of ability to work, chemotherapy, radiation and additional surgery.

  5. In most cases, screening colonoscopies are covered by insurance as a preventative test. Getting your screening colonoscopy before you have any GI symptoms is the best way to maximize your benefits.

  6. The majority of patients choose to be sedated during the colonoscopy for added comfort.

  7. It’s not embarrassing, it’s not gross. Your gastroenterologist is specially trained to perform colonoscopies. The only conclusion your doctor will come to is that you are a person who is educated and in control of your health.

  8. After age 50, most patients only have to do this screening every 10 years. Make a party of it and have all your close friends go through it together. Celebrate together when it’s over!

Remember that no age is too young to start understanding the recommendations for screening colonoscopies. If you are at higher risk due to family history of colon cancer, you may be advised to have your first colonoscopy before age 50. The only way to stay on top of your GI health is to be open and honest with your physician so they can make the best recommendations for you as an individual.

As you can see, the health benefits of having this screening far outweigh any objections or vanity issues. Tell your friends, tell your family; colonoscopies save lives. To learn more, talk to your primary care physician or call 630-717-2600 to schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist.


Topics and Subtopics: Digestive Disorders

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