Running Out of Excuses

By Sophia Wilkins, The Fearey Group

Colonoscopy.

There, I said it.

It can be a difficult topic to maneuver around, but it’s an important one.

Colo-rectal cancer is preventable, and yet it’s still the leading cause of death from cancer among adults.

This week I had the opportunity to help out at a livestream colonoscopy webcast and discussion with Drs. Raman Menon and Nicholas Procaccini from Swedish. They discussed the importance of being screened routinely upon reaching 50 years of age.

I knew that screening was important, but here are some facts that I didn’t know:

  • About one in 20 people will develop colon cancer, but if you have a family history your risk goes up to one in six.
  • As many as 22 million people in the U.S. aren’t up to date on their screening. People put it off or ignore it, they don’t want to deal with the fasting and preparation required for a colonoscopy procedure.
  • If people were current on their screenings as many as 60 percent of the deaths associated with colon cancer could be prevented.
  • I learned that it’s a relatively non-invasive procedure that’s virtually pain free. You wake up and it’s over.  Anita Mitchell, stage 4 colon cancer survivor and co-founder of the Washington Colon Cancer Stars advocacy group claims that it’s easier than going to the dentist.

People are diagnosed with different cancers, syndromes and diseases every day, but many aren’t preventable. I think we can all agree that having a colonoscopy sounds much easier than going through rounds of chemo and radiation. As a survivor of cancer, I plan to do anything that is proven to prevent it. I’m far away from the suggested screening age but I appreciate the premise of the livestream: A little awareness goes a long way.

So why haven’t you gone yet? You’re running out of excuses.

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