As the world tries to absorb the news that Hollywood and real-life superhero, Chadwick Boseman died at the young age of 43 after several years of battling colon cancer, let us seize this opportunity to address your colonoscopy fears.
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), “Colorectal cancer starts in the colon or the rectum. These cancers can also be called colon cancer or rectal cancer, depending on where they start.” Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States. It is also the second most common cause of cancer deaths in men and women combined. However, that death rate has been steadily declining over the past few decades and scientists have credited early screening and the removal of polyps before they can develop into cancers.
The routine colonoscopy has been one of the revolutionary screening methods that has been saving lives. However, the fear and anxiety of the procedure can sometimes deter patients from even getting it done. This is often due to its sensitive nature, potential embarrassment, and misinformation.
With the right information, that fear can be alleviated. Let’s address some of the common concerns regarding colonoscopies:
- They are painful – Discuss sedation options or medications to help you relax during the procedure.
- They are embarrassing – You will always be in a private room with professionals who are discreet and competent.
- They will find cancer- Not always. This is only a screening test. However, if cancer is found, chances are, it will be early enough for treatment.
The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommends that all adults at average risk of developing colorectal cancer receive routine screenings between age 50 and 75. A colonoscopy is recommended once every 10 years. The death of Boseman has raised awareness to the fact that colon cancer rates have indeed been rising in younger adults under the age of 50, especially among African Americans.
Medical experts advise paying special attention to risk factors such as family history and reporting symptoms to your healthcare provider because early diagnosis can save lives. To schedule an annual physical and colorectal cancer screening at any of our convenient Primary Medical Care Center community clinics, you may visit our website at www.primarymed.com, or call (305)751-1500 for our Miami-Dade clinic, or (954)289-0000 for our Broward clinic.