Each year thousands of individuals are diagnosed with colorectal cancer and those in early stages often have no symptoms, which is why raising public awareness about the importance of colorectal cancer screenings is incredibly important. While colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States, it is also one of the most preventable cancers. Mercy supports this important movement to bring greater awareness to a cancer that is often curable when detected early.
Few people look forward to a colonoscopy, but when you consider that it could save your life, it's a simple step worth taking.
"Early detection is very important," said Robert Waddell, M.D., Mercy Clinic surgeon. "A colonoscopy screening saves lives.”
Experts recommend most people have a colonoscopy starting at age 50. People with a higher risk, such as having a family history of colon cancer, should be tested sooner.
During a colonoscopy exam, a flexible tube is inserted into the rectum and moved through the large intestine. A tiny video camera at the tip of the tube allows the doctor to examine the lining and see any polyps that may be present. If colon polyps are found, they can be removed at the same time. You're under sedation during the exam, so you won't feel a thing. Before your exam, you will need to fast from solid foods and drink liquids to empty your colon. That's essential to getting a clear picture of the lining of your intestine. Today, there are options to make the prep easier than ever.
"I highly recommend preventive screenings,” said Dr. Waddell. “Be proactive with your own health and future.”
Mercy specialists will guide you through every step of your colonoscopy. They bring experience and expertise to this very effective form of cancer detection and treatment, and they'll work hard to keep you informed and at ease through the entire process.
Colorectal cancer can be hereditary. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer or have been diagnosed yourself, your doctor may recommend genetic counseling and possible testing. This testing is a safe, simple way to discover if you or your family are at risk for certain cancers.
If you're 50 years old or older or have a family history of colorectal cancer, ask your primary care physician about having a screening scheduled. To learn more about colorectal cancer and your local Mercy team, call the Mercy Clinic Surgery office at 580-310-0102 or visit Mercy.net/adacolonoscopy.