MEDICAL SPOTLIGHT: What is a Colonoscopy and the Benefits of Getting One?
By Space Coast Daily // April 8, 2022
This 15- to 30-minute exam is lifesaving
Colorectal cancer, better known as colon cancer, is the third-most common cancer among men and women in the United States.
BREVARD COUNTY, FORIDA – Let’s face it, we all get caught up with everyday life-whether it be work, running errands or getting the kids ready for soccer practice after school.
And when life gets too hectic, we tend to forget about other equally important things -like healthcare appointments, which often need a friendly reminder.
One of the many important healthcare screening appointments the American Cancer Society (ACS) wants everyone to set a calendar reminder for deals with colon cancer.
The ACS recommends that people at average risk of colorectal cancer start regular screening at age 45. However, our healthcare leaders are noticing a hiccup when it comes to making the first screening step.
“Well, the colonoscopy for most people, the hardest part is to make the decision to have the test and we’re lucky that most of the tests are usually provided by your primary care physician, who will recommend it,” said Dr. Carline Quander, MD, a board-certified Gastroenterologist with Health First Medical Group.
“I would say almost 80 percent of the time when I get someone to come into my office, it’s because their doctor told them to do it.”
Colon cancer is a disease where cells in the colon or rectum grow uncontrollably, and a way to detect abnormalities in this part of the body is to undergo a colonoscopy. This healthcare procedure is commonly used as a crucial screening tool to detect colon or rectal cancer.
There are some negative stereotypes when it comes to colonoscopy screenings and prep, but don’t let that scare you.
The 15- to 30-minute exam is lifesaving and used to diagnose problematic symptoms, which include:
■ Abdominal pain or unexplained weight loss
■ Bleeding from the rectum
■ Changes in bowel movements (diarrhea or constipation)
Those of us who have a family history of colon cancer or polyps are recommended to have screenings at a younger age.
“If your mom or dad had colon cancer at the age of 50, we would recommend you start screening at 40,” Dr. Quander said.
“If your mom or dad had colon cancer at 35, we start screening it 25, so that’s another factor to take into place in terms of the screening concerns.”
For some, just the thought of the exam going into our backside is cringeworthy and strange. But think of it as getting a priceless spa treatment.
“Your colon is going to get the light of day, which should be considered an exciting day, so that we can thoroughly examine,” Dr. Quander said.
“I can’t stress enough how important it is to know that colon cancer, the pathogenesis of this disease, is from a polyp that we can actually get to, and we can actually see before it turns into a cancer.”
Colon cancer, and cancer in general, doesn’t care about age, race or social status. In 2020, we witnessed the tragic death of “Black Panther” actor Chadwick Boseman at age 43. He was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in 2016 and died four years later.
We encourage you to learn more at HF.org/digestivecare, or call 321.408.5405 to schedule with a Health First Gastroenterologist who can help you decide which colon cancer screening option is right for you.