Colonoscopies should be scheduled through your primary care physician.
The Centers for Disease Control offers these guidelines for Colon Cancer Screening:
"You should begin screening for colorectal cancer soon after turning 50, then continue getting screened at regular intervals. However, you may need to be tested earlier than 50 or more often than other people if—
- You or a close relative have had colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer.
- You have Inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis.
- You have genetic syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (Lynch syndrome).
Speak with your doctor about when you should begin screening and how often you should be tested."
Colon Cancer is the second leading cancer killer of men and women in the United States, but it does not have to be. Colon cancer screenings or colonoscopies can help find polyps before they turn into cancer.
Community Hospital-Fairfax offers colonoscopies routinely. Trisha Quimby, a registered nurse on CH-F’s surgery team, says that colonoscopies take less than 10 minutes and patients are usually “in and out the door for a colonoscopy in an hour and a half. After a day of rest, they can be back to work the next day.”
An hour and half is such an insignificant amount of time compared to the impact of colon cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 60 percent of colon cancer cases could be prevented if every person over age 50 received annual screenings. The American Cancer Society reports that “Colorectal cancer is often highly treatable. If it’s found and treated early (while it’s small and before it has spread), the 5-year survival rate is about 90 percent.” And do not be mistaken, colon cancer occurs just as often in women as in men.
Community Hospital-Fairfax is committed to preventing colon cancer in our community. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that colorectal cancer almost always develops from precancerous polyps. Those polyps can be removed with an outpatient endoscopic procedure performed at Community Hospital-Fairfax.
“One of the most rewarding parts of my job is helping to prevent cancer in my patients.” Aron Burke M.D.
If you experience symptoms such as rectal bleeding, change in bowel movements or have a family history of colon cancer, your doctor may suggest a colonoscopy. If you are 50 or older, contact your doctor about regular colorectal screenings.