March is Colon Cancer Awareness month, and for those who are 50 and older, it’s a good time to have a conversation with your doctor about getting a colonoscopy.
For many, just the idea of a colonoscopy produces enough anxiety to keep them from having it done. But putting it off, even for just a year or two, could mean the difference between a simple procedure to remove small polyps and having to undergo serious treatment if a polyp progresses into cancer.
In a two-part series, KCAU’s Tim Seaman shares his personal experience with this potentially life-saving screening, and assures us all that there is no reason to avoid it.
In Part One, which you can find here, Seaman talks to his doctor about the procedure, and interviews a local barber who tells a cautionary tale about waiting too long to get screened for colon cancer.
Part Two, found here, follows Seaman as he sets up an appointment with Dr. Michalak and goes through with the entire procedure, including the “dreaded” prep. Throughout it all, he found no reason to avoid getting a colonoscopy, and encourages everyone who has been putting it off to start that conversation.
Colonoscopies can be uncomfortable to talk about. But regular checkups could save you from the second leading cause of cancer.
Siouxland News Reporter Katie Link went to Midlands Clinic to learn more about this life saving procedure.
Dr. Michalak, Gastroenterologist at Midlands Clinic said, “So colorectal cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer in the united states it accounts for over eight percent of all cancer deaths in the United States.”
Dr. Michalak is a Gastroenterologist at Midlands Clinic he says that many people still aren’t getting screened.
“Usually this occurs after the age of 50… about 90% of all cancers are diagnosed after the age of 50 which is why we recommend colorectal cancer screenings to begin at the age of 50 for the average risk person,” said Dr. Michalak.
Many may find it uncomfortable to do the screening but it could save your life.
“Colonoscopy is done specifically to find polyps, specifically abnormal polyps that will form into colon cancer … if we find these polyps early we can remove them and decrease the risk of developing colon cancer,” said Dr. Michalak.
Knowing your family history is important since cases of colon cancer in your family can increase your risk.
“There are risk factors though…family members that have had abnormal polyps, family members with colorectal cancer… Those patients should be screened sooner. 10 years before the time that their family member was diagnosed,” said Dr. Michalak.