“Just Can’t Wait To Get My Colonoscopy!” said no one ever.
Desiree D'Angelo, general surgeon with Premier Surgical Network, explains the new colonoscopy screening guidelines in my conversation with her.
It’s the morning of your colon cancer screening. You spring out of bed and you say "I just can’t wait to get my colonoscopy!" In the history of colonoscopies, that statement has never been uttered. Let’s face it, getting a colonoscopy is no fun but, you know it’s worse than a colonoscopy? Colon cancer.
New guidelines state that we should get our first colonoscopy at a younger age. After that, you most likely won’t need it again for 10 more years. You are asleep during the entire procedure which is painless and over before you know. Everyone says the prep is the worst part, but that is even getting better than it was.
It is a small price to pay for detecting this type of cancer, which is highly treatable if found in its early stages. The overall 5-year survival rate for people is 63%. If the cancer is diagnosed at a localized stage, the survival rate is 90%. If the cancer has spread to surrounding tissues or organs and/or the regional lymph nodes, the 5-year survival rate is 71%.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women each year in the United States, excluding skin cancer. This year, an estimated 147,950 adults in the United States will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
Studies show that many adults have forgone normal cancer or health screenings due to the pandemic. It could be why colorectal cancer has slowly been on the rise. Even during COVID, it's important to stay on top of our screenings and checkups. All of the precautions are in place to keep us safe. We don’t want to protect ourselves from illness while ignoring steps to prevent another.
Side note, you might have heard of the home test kits, but they may not be as accurate as a colonoscopy, which is still the gold standard. If you have been putting off your colorectal screening, it is time to make your appointment. It could save your life.