A shocking 30 to 40 percent of people diagnosed with colon cancer develop polyps despite being symptom-free. The key to the disease is discovering it early. In this Health Matters we investigate advances in performing a simple but effective exam known as a colonoscopy.
While colon cancer is the second most prevalent cancer in America, this disease can be stopped in its tracks through early detection.
David Myers, a colonoscopy patient, says, “I had no symptoms but they found polyps. I think it was maybe 10 days before we got the results back and I was apprehensive until I knew that they were clear.”
Gastroenterologist Leonard Leichus says that a colonoscopy is an effective tool in detecting cancer before it reaches life-threatening stages.
“In 95 percent of colon cancer patients, the cancer will start off as a small polyp.”
Through regular screening and surveillance, Dr. Leichus says that we can turn the tide on this epidemic.
“We know that through effective screening and monitoring of patients we will be able to control almost all colon cancer.”
Experts recommend that colonoscopies should be used for most people as a regular screening technique beginning at the age of 50. Recent advances in technology have revolutionized colonoscopy with smaller cameras and more flexible endoscopes, making the exam easier than ever before.
Doctors recommend those with family histories of colon cancer should get screened 10 years before their relatives developed the disease.
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