This is a repost of a past article, updated
Right now, everything feels like a waiting game. As we continue to learn more about addressing the Coronavirus and encourage social distancing to help slow its spread, it can be easy to forget the importance of other preventative health measures. However, one specific screening should be considered a priority, because it could save your life.
Preventative health care is a great idea but can be hard to fit into our schedules. We know we need to schedule preventative tests, but when life is coming at you at 100 miles per hour it can be hard to make time to take care of ourselves. It can be especially hard when the preventive thing you need to do is a colonoscopy.
The American Cancer Society recommends that the average risk adult begin colon health screenings at age 45. The importance of not waiting for a full screening can not be overstated. Colon cancer is currently the 2nd leading cause of cancer death, but when caught early enough, it can be successfully treated 90% of the time.
A colonoscopy allows for direct visualization of the colon where your doctor is able to see polyps. Colon polyps are an accumulation of cells that can become cancerous over time but removing them can prevent cancer. After your first colonoscopy your doctor will make a recommendation on when your next one should be based on your history and if anything abnormal was found on your exam. Your doctor may recommend other colon health screenings between colonoscopies, like at FIT kit.
A FIT, fecal immunochemical test, is an at home test that checks for blood in your stool. Blood in the stool is a risk factor for colon cancer and should be taken seriously. It is recommended that you have a fecal blood test annually between colon visualization testing. At home fecal tests are much easier to fit into your schedule than going in for a colonoscopy, but you have to follow through with your physician.
A positive fecal test means that something is wrong and it should be addressed. A recent study shows that people who wait more than 9 months to have a colonoscopy following a positive FIT test have an increased risk of a cancer diagnosis and their risk is doubled for a more advanced diagnosis. When colon cancer is found in its earliest stages it can be cured about 90% of the time. Following through with your doctor following a positive fecal test in a timely manner could save your life.
If you are over age 45 and have never had a colon health screening the physicians at Carolina Digestive are here to help. Gastroenterologists are specially trained for better detection of polyps and adenomas during a colonoscopy. Carolina Digestive can also help you with annual fecal testing if you are up to date with colonoscopies and are not at a higher risk for colon cancer.
No matter your colon health need, contact Carolina Digestive today and schedule an appointment for evaluation.