Colonoscopy Offers the Best Prevention
There is good news and bad news when it comes to colon cancer. The bad news is that colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. The good news is that it is one of two types of cancer that can be prevented with screening (cervical cancer is the other preventable cancer). According to the American Cancer Society, about 60 percent of all colon cancer fatalities in the United States could be prevented if every man and woman over 45 years of age chose to be screened for colon cancer.
More than any diet or exercise regimen, a colon screening offers the best prevention when it comes to colon cancer. The disease almost always begins with a polyp, a small cluster of cells in the lining of the colon or rectum. During a screening, a gastroenterologist looks for polyps that are cancerous or may develop into cancer.
There are many screening methods available, but colonoscopy is the most thorough screening procedure because it allows your doctor to see the entire length of the colon to examine for polyps, lesions and abnormalities. Other screening methods like flexible sigmoidoscopy, virtual colonoscopy, double contrast barium enema, and fecal occult blood test are valuable, but they are incomplete in their conclusions and often require further testing.
Your doctor can give you the “all-clear” if no polyps or adenomas are found during the screening.
Your doctor can often remove small precancerous polyps during the colonoscopy so they will not develop into cancer.
If your doctor finds a suspicious polyp or growth, a biopsy can be performed to test the cells for cancer. If necessary, treatment can begin immediately.
If you knew that a screening could protect you from a deadly disease, you would choose to be tested, would you not? A colonoscopy may be the most important test you ever take. If you follow other preventative measures, you have the best opportunity to remain colon cancer free.