Colonoscopy Offers Key to Early Detection
- Colorectal cancer is preventable and easily treated when detected early. The death rate from colorectal cancer has been steadily dropping over the past two decades due to the increased use of colonoscopy to detect potentially cancerous polyps.
- The colonoscopy is a quick and painless procedure that takes 15-30 minutes and only requires an outpatient visit.
- Crozer-Keystone offers colonoscopy services at four different locations: Crozer-Chester Medical Center, Delaware County Memorial Hospital, Springfield Hospital and Taylor Hospital.
Sometimes the topic that we try to avoid is the conversation we most need to have. While colonoscopy may not be the easiest subject to broach in some circles, this best-practice procedure can be critical to our health and well-being.
Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer in both men and women in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute. The American Cancer Society reports that 106,100 new cases of the disease were diagnosed in 2009.
“It’s important for people to know that as Americans, we have quite a high probability of getting colon cancer some time in our lives. It’s about 6 percent over a person’s lifetime,” says Immanuel Ho, M.D., chief of the Division of Gastroenterology at Crozer-Chester Medical Center.
The good news is that colorectal cancer is preventable and easily treated when detected early. In fact, the death rate from colorectal cancer has been steadily dropping over the past two decades due to the increased use of colonoscopy to detect potentially cancerous polyps.
Crozer-Keystone offers colonoscopy services at four different locations: Crozer-Chester Medical Center, Delaware County Memorial Hospital, Springfield Hospital and Taylor Hospital. Crozer-Keystone’s experienced gastroenterologists—physicians who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, including the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, pancreas, liver, gallbladder and biliary system—draw on the latest research and newest-generation technologies to help patients make the right decisions about preventing and treating disease.
As a screening mechanism, colonoscopy offers a unique view into the colon and rectum, making it an important tool for detecting and preventing many different diseases. “Colonoscopy can not only detect polyps—it is also useful in diagnosing digestive problems, such as inflammatory bowel disease and for finding the cause of anemia in patients,” says John Seedor, M.D., chief of the Section of Gastroenterology at Taylor Hospital.
The Facts about Colonoscopy
“I think there’s a lot of misconception out there about colonoscopy,” Seedor says. “People are afraid it’s uncomfortable and the preparation is difficult. But when they finally experience it for themselves, they find it’s not as bad as they thought.”
In reality, the colonoscopy is a quick and painless procedure that takes 15-30 minutes and only requires an outpatient visit. Once at the doctor’s office, the patient is given pain medication and a sedative to minimize discomfort. Using a colonoscope, a flexible tube-like instrument that transmits an image of the colon to a monitor, the doctor can look for any abnormalities, including inflamed tissue, ulcers and polyps. Afterward, the patient rests in a recovery room for a short time before being discharged.
Seedor adds that there have been recent improvements on all fronts of colonoscopy science: New technologies make the procedure less invasive and more comfortable for patients while delivering more sensitive readings. Advances in anesthesia and preparation techniques have also simplified the process.
“We are very happy to let patients know that colonoscopies have become low-risk and they’re now much easier than they were in the past,” says Mark Jacobs, M.D., chief of the Section of Gastroenterology at Delaware County Memorial Hospital.
Making the Call
Because colonoscopies are an invaluable tool in maintaining GI health, Crozer-Keystone has made it easier to access advanced care and state-of-the-art colonoscopy technology, with a 24-hour hotline (1-877-CKHS-GI1) and website with an online appointment request form (www.ckhsgi.org).
To schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist or surgeon who performs colonoscopies, or to schedule an appointment for a colonoscopy procedure (proper referral required), contact the 24-hour CKHS Gastroenterology Appointment Center at 1-877-CKHS-GI1 (1-877-254-7441) or visit www.ckhsgi.org.