March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month
50 is the Magic Number
At age 50, you should begin having colonoscopies. If everyone followed the screening guidelines, 50% of all lives lost to colon cancer would be saved.
What is a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a routine, outpatient procedure performed at Sentara RMH Medical Center. Your doctor uses a long, thin, flexible tube with a camera on the tip to look at the inner lining of your large intestine.
This procedure includes sedation for patient comfort.
To prepare for this procedure, patients drink a special solution to clean out the colon. Your physician will provide you with more information on this preparation.
Who should have a colonoscopy?
- Men and women over age 50
- Those with a family history of colon cancer
- Individuals with chronic bowel and digestive diseases
- Anyone with a previous abnormal colonoscopy finding
- Anyone over 50 who hasn’t had a colonoscopy in the last 10 years
*What are the risk factors for colon cancer?
Everyone is at risk for developing colon cancer, but certain factors can put you at higher risk. Note that when found early, colon cancer has a 90% survival rate!
Age. Colon cancer is more likely in adults 50 and older.
Gender. For the most part, men and women have fairly equal risk factors, but women have a higher risk for colon cancer, while men have a higher risk for rectal cancer.
How much do you know about colon health? Take the quiz.
Polyps. Certain types of polyps (non-cancerous growths on the inner wall of the colon or rectum) increase the risk for developing cancer.
Personal History. A history of certain types of cancer, such as uterine, ovarian or breast cancer, suggest a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer. People who have certain inflammatory diseases, such as Crohn’s Disease, are also thought to be at higher risk.
Family history of colorectal cancer.
Lifestyle and diet. High-fat, low-fiber diets suggest increased risk for cancer, as well as poor lifestyle choices, such as smoking, excessive drinking, lack of exercise, and obesity.
Diabetes. People with diabetes have a 30-40% higher likelihood of developing colon cancer.
Talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors for colon cancer.
*information provided by WebMD.com.
Are there symptoms of colon cancer?
Colon cancer in its earliest stages often does not present any symptoms. That’s why a colonoscopy, starting at age 50, is so important! When caught early, colon cancer is treatable. When caught early, colon cancer has a 90% survival rate!
*Some symptoms of colon cancer may include:
- Changes in bowel movements, such as chronic constipation or diarrhea
- Blood in stool
- Abdominal bloating and/or discomfort
- Unexplained fatigue, loss of appetite, and/or weight loss
How do I schedule a colonoscopy?
To schedule a colonoscopy, speak with your primary care physician. If you need a physician, call Healthsource at 564-7200 for a physician referral.
Which doctors on the Sentara RMH Medical Staff provide colonoscopies?
These physicians provide colonoscopies at Sentara RMH Medical Center. They are:
- Timothy Landes, MD
- Harold Reilly, III, MD
- Robert Sease, Jr., MD
- Keith Vest, MD
- John Mansfield, MD
- Robert Garwood, MD
- Gene Branum, MD
- Aaron Perme, MD
- Morris Fendley, MD
Planning a visit to Sentara RMH? Take a tour of our campus before you come.
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