Are you at least 50 years of age? Have you had a screening colonoscopy? You might be surprised to learn that at least ⅓ of those eligible for screenings have not yet scheduled their procedure. Fear of the prep and embarrassment are two of the most common excuses; but it’s time to stop making excuses and get the facts.

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month. While not as recognizable as the ubiquitous pink ribbons of October, the blue awareness ribbon can be credited with saving lives. The number of colon cancer diagnoses in the U.S. are on the decline, in large part due to the efforts to have Americans screened beginning at the age of 50. During a screening colonoscopy your gastroenterologist looks for small polyps that form on the lining of the colon. If any are found they can be removed during the procedure. When removed early, the polyps are unable to become cancerous. If cancer already exists and is removed before it penetrates the outer wall of the colon, it is over 90% curable.

Who should be screened? Anyone at least 50 years of age, and earlier if you have a family history of colorectal cancers, are of African American descent, or have an inflammatory bowel disease. It is important to talk to your doctor about your personal risk and determine a screening schedule that is right for you.

Does your doctor matter? Yes! Many studies have shown that a board certified gastroenterologist finds more precancerous polyps (adenomas) than other physicians who occasionally perform colonoscopies. Practice does make perfect.

So what is the bottom line? Stop making excuses and make an appointment for your screening. Call GI Associates today!

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