Get Screened Blog

What Doctors Are Saying About Colon Cancer Screening This March


As many of you already know, March is national colorectal cancer awareness month. President Obama issued an official presidential proclamation about it, and awareness events from our friends at Fight Colorectal Cancer and Colon Cancer Alliance are underway.

Across the media world, journalists and other media members are tapping doctors to help get the word about colon cancer and specifically, the importance of colon cancer screening.

Here's what doctors are saying about colon cancer screening this March:

Dr. Alex Ky, associate professor of surgery at Mount Sinai, to the New York Daily News:

While it’s stating the obvious to say that no one wants to get a colonoscopy, I have a simple line for patients: Don’t die of embarrassment.

Doctors are looking for ways to catch polyps earlier, including colonoscopy alternatives like stool tests ... there are also studies underway investigating people who have the genetic component, and what actually triggers the cancers in that population.

Screening is the single most important thing ... start getting scoped at age 50, or earlier if you have any risk factors.

Dr. Sapna Makhija, Founding Gastroenterologist at GI Health Centre, in a recent Huffington Post article discussing colonoscopies:

Most facilities that perform colonoscopies offer some form of sedation. You will be comfortable and won't remember any of the discomfort that you may experience. 

Patients say prep is usually worse than the procedure itself, but it really isn't horrible. Remember: the cleaner your colon, the better the physician can detect polyps, which is, after all, why you're there.

Several doctors, healthcare systems and hospitals weighed in on topics related to colon cancer in a recent Twitter chat hosted by ABC News' Dr. Richard Besser. You can read our chat wrap-up to get a summary of the chat, but here are a few highlights on screening:

Dr. Mark Pochapin, gastroenterology professor at NYU and Gina Mileo, registered nurse at NYU Langone Medical Center, in a recent CBS News Google+ Hangout hosted by Dr. Jon LaPook of NYU Langone Medical Center.

On colonoscopy prep:

Just relax, take the prep, put it away, put it in the fridge, hydrate with some other fluids ... pick something clear that [you] have in the house, whether it's orange gatorade or apple juice. Drink a glass of that ... you don't need to get that whole gallon of [prep] done in an hour. - Mileo

Patients who aren't prepped well enough actually have missed polyps -- polyps that we just can't see that could potentially be at risk before the next colonoscopy. - Dr. Pochapin

On getting screened:

If you're not going to do it because you're fearful for yourself, do it for your family. Colon cancer is the No. 2 cause of cancer-related death. It's one of the most preventable of all cancers. - Dr. Pochapin

Don't be scared, don't be afraid. It's one night of work. - Mileo

Other colon cancer screening news from around the web

    • Colon Cancer Alliance and YouTube comedian Jack Vale teamed up to play a rather hilarious prank on groggy colonoscopy patients. Watch it below:
  • While cancer screening rates as a whole aren't meeting CDC goals, colon cancer screening rates went up a healthy 7% between 2008 and 2010.

  • Dr. Theordore R Levin (quoted above) explains how Kaiser Permananete Northern California doubled colon cancer screening rates between 2005 and 2012.

  • A new study is underway to determine the impact of exercise on survivability and quality of life in colon cancer patients.

  • Cool data visualization from the Washington Post: The Years Lost To Cancer.

  • The effect of dietary fiber intake on colon cancer risk may be different in smokers than it is in non-smokers.

  • Selectively killing off certain kinds of gut bacteria may decrease colon cancer risk.

  • A full-spectrum endoscopy appears to be more adept at finding colon polyps than a standard colonoscopy.

  • Other research shows that if you get colon cancer, you're more likely to survive if you lived a healthy lifestyle before being diagnosed.

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Topics: Colon Cancer News