Staying well during the coronavirus pandemic is important, but are you sacrificing your colon health by delaying what could be a life-saving colonoscopy? You may think staying at home is a way you can do your part to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but having a colonoscopy is a basic form of preventive care that could save your life. Getting screened for colon cancer is a gift you can give your family because it means you will be present for years to come.
Colonoscopies and Colon Cancer Prevention
Your lifetime risk of developing colon cancer is about one in five, but most colon cancer cases are preventable with regular colonoscopies. A colonoscopy allows your doctor to examine the entire colon and remove any suspicious polyps before they can develop into cancer. Therefore, a colonoscopy is both diagnostic and therapeutic; it can detect and prevent colon cancer. According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, removing cancer-causing polyps during a colonoscopy can lower the risk of death from colorectal cancer by 53 percent.
Even though research proves colonoscopies save lives, millions of Americans are not getting screened at proper intervals. As a result of COVID-19, colorectal screenings dropped significantly in 2020, with an 86 percent decline compared to averages before February 2020. This screening disruption translates to more undiagnosed cases of colorectal cancer for longer periods. Up to 10,000 more deaths are projected over the next decade as a consequence of postponed screenings.
Colon Cancer Screening Guidelines
The American Cancer Society suggests all adults who are at average risk for colon cancer have an initial colon cancer screening at 45 years of age. Some individuals are at higher risk for colon cancer due to family history, so talk with your GI doctor about whether you should begin screening earlier than this. It is also essential to be aware of the risk factors associated with colon cancer, including:
- Polyps (growths inside the colon and rectum) that may become cancerous
- A high-fat diet
- Family history of colon cancer or polyps
- Inflammatory bowel diseases involving the colon
- Sedentary lifestyle
Don’t Delay in Scheduling Your Screening Colonoscopy
Although many surgery centers were closed during COVID, most have resumed regular hours. Surgery centers must follow rigorous safety standards and protocols. You can feel confident that your center will take the necessary precautions to sanitize the facility and all equipment.
We all have loved ones who need us in their lives – those who rely on us and can’t wait until we can all safely gather together again once the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided. You owe it to your family to prioritize your health.
Give those who love you peace of mind by scheduling a screening colonoscopy today.