Prevention is key. We perform acts of prevention everyday. Whether it’s filling up the gas tank or brushing your teeth, we do them to prevent the potential costly and devastating outcomes if we were to avoid those simple tasks. With some things it’s easy to see that the investment in prevention far outweighs the “cost” of the avoidably negative result, however that is not frequently the case when it comes to our healthcare.
There are over 130,000 new diagnoses of colon and rectal cancer every year. As this number continues to rise, the number of deaths from colon cancer continues to fall. Although some of this decline in colorectal cancer mortality can be attributed to advances in treatment, the single largest reason is an increase in prevention! Screening colonoscopies cannot only recognize cancer at earlier stages and thus increase survival, removing a polyp can actually prevent the colon cancer from ever happening.
Preparation for a colonoscopy starts 24-48 hours prior to the procedure in which your diet is modified and colon-cleansing medications are usually prescribed. The goal of preparation is to clear the colon of its contents to allow for complete visualization of the colon surface during the procedure. The outpatient procedure itself takes about 30 minutes, and is done under sedation so that you are kept comfortable. You are usually discharged home within an hour of the procedure being completed.
Current guidelines recommend all persons should begin colorectal cancer screening starting at age 50. Some high-risk individuals are recommended to begin screening much earlier. Screening intervals are then set for every 3-10 years dependent on whether or not precancerous lesions were found on the initial colonoscopy.
There is no better investment than investing in yourself. Almost everybody has experienced the dreadful mental and physical effects cancer can have on a person and their loved ones. Invest in a healthy future by getting a screening colonoscopy or encouraging your loved one and see the return on that investment for many healthy, colon cancer-free years to come.
Dr. Justin Atherton is a board certified physician in general surgery with Exodus Healthcare Network. He is passionate about providing all aspects of general surgery to youth, adults and elderly in our community. He treats patients through both medical and surgical means. His services include appendicitis, abscesses, hernia, gallbladder, diverticulitis, complex lacerations, liver/biliary/pancreas, skin/soft tissue, stomach/esophagus, colorectal and endocrine surgeries. In this article Dr. Atherton encourages prevention through Colon Cancer Screening.
Dr. Justin Atherton is located at Exodus Healthcare Network, 3665 S. 8400 W. Suite 100, in Magna. He is now accepting new patients. If you have any questions or concerns that you would like to talk with Dr. Atherton about, call 801-250-9638 to make an appointment.