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How 30 Minutes Can Help Prevent Colon Cancer
by Jessica Pasek | Mar 05, 2018    Share

Schedule Colonoscopy

Most people would agree getting a colonoscopy is an unpleasant experience and get somewhat squeamish when discussing the procedure. The result? Putting the exam off to a later date.

When it comes to cancer, there are risk factors you can’t control. These include age, race, and family history. However, you can reduce your overall risk through lifestyle changes and regular screenings.

Colon cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in men and women in the United States. A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that more than 95 percent of precancerous polyps are detected during a colonoscopy.

The American Cancer Society recommends that adults age 50 and older receive colorectal cancer screenings every 10 years. If there’s a family history of colon cancer, you should begin screenings early.

The procedure is done by inserting a camera attached to a flexible tube through the rectum to view the inside of the lower digestive track. Patients will be given a sedating medicine which may cause drowsiness. If the provider sees anything abnormal, such as a polyp or tumor, a sample of the tissue will be obtained and examined further.

When 74-year-old Coloma resident, Edward Tokarz, went for his routine check-up with his family medicine provider Michael Kelly, DO, he wasn’t experiencing any symptoms.

“Dr. Kelly asked me if I had a colonoscopy in the last five or so years and I told him I hadn’t,” said Edward. "He recommended that it could benefit me at my age.”

Edward scheduled an appointment and had the procedure performed by general surgeon, Elizabeth Jeffers, MD, a few weeks later. In total, he had five polyps removed. Out of the five, two were found to be precancerous.

“Don’t be afraid to voice any concerns to your doctor,” he said. "The staff at Lakeland are very knowledgeable and easy to get along with.”

Colonoscopies are one of the primary ways to detect colon cancer for early treatment. If you’re age 50 or older, talk to your primary care provider about getting an annual screening.

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