COLUMBIA (WACH) ?? According to website Cancer.org, 2014 will see over 130,000 new cases of colon and rectal cancer. Even more alarming is the estimate that over 50,000 people will lose the fight before the end of the year. The death rate of colon cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in non-smoking Americans. These statistics signal the alarm to be aware, and get checked, as early detection can nearly prevent it.
March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month, and with that, the message of prevention, awareness, and examinations are in the forefront. According to the website, Americans have a one in twenty chance of developing colon or rectal cancer. Colon Cancer, unlike some other forms of cancer are not exacerbated by certain behaviors, but risk factors do include age, hereditary and history. According to Dr. Tray Dunaway from South Carolina Medical Endoscopy, race also plays a factor. Dr. Dunaway said that although the critical age for exams is 50, African American??s risk starts at 45, and the mortality rate is also higher for that segment. The doctor points out that there are no known reasons for the discrepancy.
Although behaviors specific behaviors seldom change the likelihood of being diagnosed, website Cancer.gov indicates several symptoms to be mindful of, including:
Blood in stool
Change in bathroom habits
As you approach the critical age, Dr. Dunaway stresses the importance of exams as a measure to overcome the odds of becoming one of the 50,000 who do not survive the diagnosis. For most people, the thought of a colonoscopy is not a pleasant one, including two days of preparation, and of course, the exam itself.
90 minutes, according to Dr. Dunaway, is the length of the exam, from pre-op to recovery. During the first 25 minutes, paperwork is completed, and initial prep is done. By the 30 minute mark, the patient is in the exam room, where Propofol anesthesia administered. For the next 30 minutes, the procedure takes place, where the entire rectum and colon are examined. Any polyps that are discovered are removed, and sent off for biopsy.
Once off the propofol, consciousness is regained within 10-15 minutes.
In an effort to show how easy and important an exam is, I am undergoing the procedure, and will share the results live on Good Day Columbia Tuesday Morning.