Why Colonoscopy Is the Best Way to Prevent Colon Cancer
When it comes to colorectal cancer prevention, the most important thing you can do is to get screened. “I cannot emphasize this enough,” said Dr. Fiona Gaunay, a colorectal surgeon with LG Health Physicians Surgical Group. “If it weren’t for the funny looks I would generate, I would yell it from every street corner: ‘Get screened. Get a colonoscopy!’”
The Best Way to Prevent Colon Cancer
Colonoscopy—generally recommended beginning at age 50; earlier if you have a family history of colorectal cancer or signs of the disease—not only detects cancer, but also allows doctors to remove precancerous polyps (small clumps of cells that form in the lining of the colon) during the procedure. This way, colorectal cancer can truly be prevented.
Screening can also identify colorectal cancers early, when there is a greater chance that treatment will lead to a cure.
“Colonoscopy may not be glamorous, but when compared to a cancer diagnosis, it looks pretty good,” said Dr. Gaunay.
What to Expect if Diagnosed with Colon Cancer
“The good news is, the majority of times, colon cancer can be treated with the goal of a cure…especially when discovered early through a colonoscopy,” said Dr. Gaunay.
Some early stage cancers that are found in polyps can actually be removed at the time of a colonoscopy. This is called polypectomy and may be the only treatment needed. If surgery is required, your surgeon will determine the right type of surgery for you.
Lifestyle and Colon Cancer Prevention
Healthy lifestyle behaviors can help reduce your risk of developing colon and rectal cancer. Things like staying active and maintaining a healthy weight; eating a diet with lots of vegetables, fruits and whole grains; and reducing your consumption of red and processed meats. All are important, and incorporating these habits into your daily life offers health benefits that extend far beyond decreasing your colon cancer risk.
“While there are a variety of effective treatment options for colorectal cancer, the very best option is always prevention,” said Dr. Gaunay.
To find a doctor who performs colonoscopies and learn more about colorectal cancer prevention, visit LGHEALTH.ORG/COLON.