Stress-Free Colonoscopy for Colon Cancer Prevention
We understand that no one likes to think about having a colonoscopy. Our goal is to take away any concerns you may have about being screened and make you feel comfortable and at ease during the procedure.
Colon cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer through colonoscopy screening. Our team of specialists will answer your questions in detail and address any concerns that you may have. We also take a number of steps to help make the process as stress-free as possible, such as:
- customizing preparation to your preferences
- discussing anesthesia options to keep you comfortable during the procedure
- working with patient navigators to coordinate your care
- providing results as quickly as possible, often within two business days
It’s colonoscopEASY, to schedule your colonoscopy or to receive more information, please contact one of our dedicated patient navigators at 781-213-5212.
Our gastroenterologists offer easily accessible colon cancer screenings at MelroseWakefield Hospital near Melrose, Medford, Malden, Wakefield, Stoneham and north of Boston.
What is Colon Cancer?
Colorectal or colon cancer refers to the group of cancers that affect the colon and rectum (also called the large intestine). About one in 20 people will develop colon cancer at some point during their lives, making this one of the most common cancers in the U.S. These diseases usually are caused by the growth of polyps – small masses of cells – in the rectum or colon. Though these growths start as benign (noncancerous), they can develop into cancerous tumors over time.
The Importance of Colonoscopy
Colonoscopy is the most effective form of preventing colon cancer because your doctor can find a polyp during the procedure and remove it on the spot. They are also viewing the colon in real-time and can identify anything concerning.
The preparation is a prescription that will clear your colon. The actual colonoscopy only takes a short amount of time and you will be sedated for the procedure so you will need someone to drive you home.
For more information or to schedule your colonoscopy, call our patient navigators at 781-213-5212.
Colon Cancer Symptoms
Colon cancer can be asymptomatic, meaning it doesn’t show any symptoms until the disease has progressed to later stages. The symptoms of colon cancer can be vague and similar to symptoms of common gastrointestinal issues such as hemorrhoids, ulcers, or colitis (inflamed colon) so it’s important to see a doctor right away if you are experiencing any symptoms, such as:
- abdominal pain
- bleeding from the rectum
- changes in bowel habits (constipation, diarrhea or thinner stool)
- decreased appetite
- persistent tiredness or fatigue
- unexplained weight loss
Colon Cancer Risk Factors
It’s especially important to be aware of colon cancer symptoms if you know you’re at high risk for the disease. Several factors can raise your risk, including:
- Alcohol: Heavy alcohol use – more than two drinks per day for men and more than one for women.
- Diet: Those who eat a lot of red meat and processed meat have a higher risk, especially if they eat few vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain fibers.
- Family history: People with an immediate family member who has had colon cancer or polyps are two to three times more likely to develop it themselves.
- Inflammatory bowel disease: Patients with ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease should be followed by a gastroenterologist given their increased risk.
- Obesity: People who are obese are about 30 percent more likely to develop colon cancer than those who aren’t obese.
- Tobacco: Smokers are at risk for many cancers, including colon cancer.
Preventing Colon Cancer
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will reduce your risk for colon cancer. That includes avoiding tobacco, keeping a healthy weight, being physically active, and eating a high fiber diet while avoiding too many red or processed meats.
Other than keeping those healthy habits, here are my takeaway recommendations:
- If you’re 45 or older: Schedule a colonoscopy as soon as you can.
- If you’re younger than 45, but have any risk factors for colon cancer: Talk with your doctor or see a specialist (gastroenterologist) to discuss when you should start screening.
- If you have any concerning symptoms: Don’t wait to see your doctor or a gastroenterologist. Even younger adults can get colon cancer!
Our patient navigators can help you schedule your colon cancer screenings at MelroseWakefield Hospital near Melrose, Medford, Malden, Wakefield, Stoneham and north of Boston. To schedule your colonoscopy, call 781-213-5212.