As she approached her fiftieth birthday, Linda Connolly heard the lectures and noticed the warnings: Get a colonoscopy.
However Linda ignored the commercials, information tales and mailings and blew proper previous the milestone. She was wholesome and lively. She didn’t have time to take off a day from work. And what she had heard concerning the preparation course of left loads to be desired.
“I ought to have taken a day without work from work 5 years in the past, and perhaps I wouldn’t be right here now,” Linda stated.
At 55 years outdated, she lastly relented and scheduled a colonoscopy. She obtained the outcomes on February 14.
“Being Valentine’s Day, I requested my husband what he was doing. He stated he had conferences,” Linda stated. “I stated, ‘Nicely, I’ve most cancers. Why don’t you’re taking the day without work and discuss to me?’ So he did.’”
Colonoscopy helps forestall most cancers
The excellent news is that Linda’s most cancers was confined to 1 polyp and was Stage 0-1. The polyp was eliminated in the course of the colonoscopy, and Linda labored together with her OSF HealthCare most cancers care crew to construct an aggressive plan that features frequent testing to assist guarantee long-term survival.
However Linda wonders how issues is likely to be totally different if she had undergone the colonoscopy half a dozen years in the past. Might she have prevented her present remedy plan and the emotional considerations that accompany a most cancers prognosis?
“Colon cancers develop as a polyp, and over a decade they mutate and change into most cancers. So if you happen to discover polyps and take them out, you truly forestall colon most cancers,” stated Asif Quyyum, MD, most cancers surgeon at OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, Illinois. “Prevention is vital. First prevention, then early detection.
“Linda obtained fortunate as a result of we discovered the most cancers early on,” Dr. Quyyum continued. “The overwhelming majority of sufferers want surgical procedure as a substitute of a colonoscopy to get it out, and a superb portion want chemotherapy. You possibly can keep away from these issues by getting detected early.”
Bowel prep routine improves
Greater than 50,000 Individuals annually die from colorectal cancers, which rank behind solely lung and bronchus amongst most cancers fatalities.
Furthermore, charges of colorectal cancers are rising in folks beneath 50, a reality that’s driving the medical neighborhood towards recommending screens start at 45. And since it’s a key threat issue, a historical past of colorectal most cancers in your loved ones ought to make you get a colonoscopy as younger as 40, Dr. Quyyum stated.
You possibly can take preventive measures resembling specializing in an lively way of life and a nutritious diet excessive in fruit and greens. Dr. Quyyum stated taking 81 mg of aspirin every day additionally helps lower the danger of colorectal most cancers.
Then, there’s the colonoscopy.
“It’s a really fast process,” Dr. Quyyum stated. “You might be sedated. Issues and dangers are low. The half folks actually hate is the day-before bowel prep, however that has improved loads.”
Just a few years in the past, preparation the day and night time earlier than the process included ingesting 4 liters of a foul-tasting concoction, which prompted frequent bowel actions. Whereas clearing your bowels stays obligatory, immediately’s prescriptions are much less voluminous and style higher.
‘Finest nap you’ll ever get’
Linda’s expertise has made her a warrior of kinds on the entrance strains of screening advocacy. Most lately, she has been lecturing her youthful brother, who’s 48 and resisting with a few of the identical excuses Linda as soon as used. “Foolish issues,” she calls these excuses now.
“I assumed it could be uncomfortable, nevertheless it wasn’t,” Linda stated. “I inform folks it was the very best nap you’ll ever get. Take it.
“Take the day. It’s OK. I’m serving to my brother understand he has to take that day now. It’s OK to take a day for ourselves. We’re all price that someday.”
Final Up to date: April 14, 2022