Seven out of 10 people aged 50 or older for whom a colonoscopy was recommended by their doctors delayed or avoided scheduling the exam primarily due to fears, according to findings from a 2011 survey conducted by the Colon Cancer Alliance, a patient advocacy group.
Another 73 percent of the respondents said preparing for the exam was the hardest part of the screening experience.
Clare McConville, colonoscopy assessment nurse at Cooley Dickinson Hospital, helps hundreds of people each year prepare for their colonoscopies. Getting ready to have a colonoscopy typically involves drinking clear liquids and taking laxatives the day before the colonoscopy exam. Preparing for the exam can be tedious, but McConville says there are ways to get through it.
“There are tips, such as flavoring the liquids and sipping ginger ale through a straw, that can help people prepare. Colon cancer is preventable and treatable. It’s important that everyone aged 50 and over get screened.” And if you have a family history of colon cancer, McConville said, baseline screenings would begin earlier.
The risk of developing colorectal cancer increases with advancing age. More than 90 percent of cases occur in people aged 50 or older. Building awareness is an important part of helping to increase screening and decrease mortality rates. If you are 50 or older, speak with your doctor about scheduling a colorectal screening exam.
What Can I Do to Reduce My Risk?
• Avoid tobacco
• Be active
• Limit alcohol intake
• Begin regular colorectal screening tests at age 50
Cooley Dickinson-Affiliated Physicians Who
Perform Colonoscopy Screening
Cooley Dickinson Medical Group Surgical Care, 413-584-4637
Holly Michaelson, MD
Eric Stanelle, MD
Hampshire Gastroenterology Associates, 413-586-8910
Jaya Agrawal, MD, MPH
David Berkman, MD
Jeffery Cooley, MD
Frank Meyers, MD
Joseph Tassoni, MD
Geoffrey Zucker, MD
Northampton Surgical Associates, 413-586-3232
Alvah Hinckley, MD
A. Ron Miller, MD
|Need help finding a Cooley Dickinson-affiliated provider? We can help!
Fast Facts about Colon Cancer
• Of cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States.
• If everybody aged 50 or older had regular screening tests, as many as 60 percent of deaths from colorectal cancer could be prevented.
• About nine out of every 10 people whose colorectal cancer were found early and treated are still alive five years later.
• If colorectal cancer is detected early, it’s treatable and beatable.