Colonscopy. It’s a word that brings up thoughts of strangely flavored “cleansing” drinks and an uncomfortable procedure. But colonoscopies aren’t something to be feared. And they definitely aren’t something to be avoided.
For cancers that affect men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. Symptoms may include a change in bowel habits (like diarrhea or constipation) or a change stool consistency that lasts longer than four weeks. Rectal bleeding, abdominal discomfort and unexplained weight loss should be discussed with your healthcare provider. Make that appointment sooner; don’t wait for months and months to see if those symptoms will disappear on their own.
Yes, patients often receive an unpalatable “cleansing” drink to take before a colonoscopy procedure. And yes, no one ever looks back on their colonoscopy and thinks, “I wish I could do that every day.” This is an outpatient procedure with a short recovery time that has minimal complications for the average person. The benefits of potentially catching cancer early, when it’s easier to treat and more treatment options are available, far outweigh “the ugly” aspects of the screening.
As we start National Colorectal Cancer Month in March, realize that colorectal cancer is highly treatable when caught early. And Bertrand Chaffee Hospital’s Surgical Center handles screening colonoscopies that are an integral part of the colorectal cancer detection process for many patients.
Talk to your primary care provider about a recommended schedule for a screening colonoscopy. Our Surgical Center has experienced physicians who can perform your screening in your community, here at BCH. Call (716) 794-3295 to find out more.
Remember: March 3 is Dress in Blue Day, part of nationwide efforts to raise awareness of Colorectal Cancer. Share pictures of you in blue on Bertrand Chaffee Hospital’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/bchspringville.