A Follow-up Colonoscopy Can Save Your Life
Here’s a scenario that may fit you: you had a colonoscopy a couple years ago. The doctors found and removed polyps and you were tremendously relieved. You know that you’re due for a follow-up colonoscopy, but the first one was … unpleasant … and besides, you think everything was cleared up, so you’re going to skip the follow-up.
That’s a bad idea.
A new study from Germany shows that patients with colorectal cancer were more likely to have neglected getting a follow-up colonoscopy within five years of their first procedure.
“This study reinforces the importance of colonoscopy in the prevention of colon cancer,” says Joyann Kroser, M.D., Crozer-Keystone gastroenterologist. “This is a life-saving test, and people need to get it done.”
Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer-related death in the US; it’s projected that 140,000 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer this year. The American Cancer Society recommends that people who have one or two small precancerous polyps detected should have another colonoscopy within five to 10 years. ACS recommends that people who have more than two polyps removed should have a follow up within three years.
According to this new study, these colonoscopy-related factors are more telling than the number of polyps that may have been discovered. This is especially true for patients under the age of 70; people under 70 who wait more than five years for a follow-up colonoscopy are six times more likely to get cancer.
So you’d better get that follow-up.
Mention colonoscopies and a lot of people cringe. But the anxiety does not necessarily match the reality of the test.
“It is really the prep that people hate and not the procedure. But the preparation is vital to a high quality exam. For the person with an average risk level it is one day out of a decade, so I try to play up the positives. It is better to have a great prep and make it ‘one and done’ rather than have to repeat the test prematurely.”
But Kroser has some good news.
“I do think that there is less resistance to colonoscopy, especially as the baby boomer generation ages,” Kroser says.
So don’t let this critical test slide.
Crozer-Keystone offers a range of board-certified physicians who are trained in the latest technologies and procedures to comprehensively diagnose, manage and treat gastrointestinal and liver conditions. For more information or to make an appointment, visit http://gi.crozerkeystone.org or call 1 1-877-CKHS-GI1 (254-7441).