Do I Need A Colonoscopy?
If You‚Äôre 50 or Older, The answer is a definite ‚ÄúYES.‚Äù It‚Äôs time to get serious about a medical condition that costs the lives of more than 50,000 Americans every year.
Cancer of the colon and rectum (colorectal cancer) is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. It kills more people than breast cancer and AIDS combined. Regrettably, most of these deaths are preventable. Treatment for colorectal cancer is very successful when the disease is detected early. Unfortunately, colon cancer is a silent killer, exhibiting few, if any, signs or symptoms until the disease is well advanced. That‚Äôs the reason having a colonoscopy is so important.
A colonoscopy is the most advanced screening technique for detecting colorectal cancer. With this test, the physician examines the entire colon to check for tumors as well as polyps and areas of inflammation that can lead to cancer. Polyps found during the examination can be removed. In contrast, another screening technique, flexible sigmoidoscopy, only allows a physician to view the lower 1/3 of the colon.
Don‚Äôt Be Embarrassed To Death
Given all the dangers associated with colorectal cancer, you would think almost everyone would want to be screened for the disease. Unfortunately, 40 percent of Americans who should be screened for colon cancer have not been tested. If you are 50 or older, it‚Äôs highly recommended that you have a regular colonoscopy at least every 10 years, and more frequently if you are in a high-risk category or have a family history of colorectal cancer.
Thanks to more accurate screening tools for colorectal cancer, the mortality rate for the disease has been steadily dropping for the last 20 years. Many insurance policies now cover a colonoscopy. Still, some people are embarrassed about having the procedure done. They shouldn‚Äôt be. Performed under anesthesia, a colonoscopy is painless and usually takes about 30 minutes to perform. You won‚Äôt remember a thing, and it could save your life.