Colonoscopies Can Nip Colon Cancer In The Bud


By Jay Michaels

Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) Colon cancer is the third most common kind of cancer in the United States. One third of the 150,000 people in the us who get the disease every year die from it. But if you catch it early, there's hope for you.

That's why doctors recommend if you're over age 50, you need to get a colonoscopy to nip any potential colon cancer in the bud. But if you wait, you probably won't see any warning signs until it's much too late.

Dr. Brian Berk, MD, Gastroenterologist with St. Luke's Magic Valley, says, "The problem is that most of the symptoms don't occur until the cancer has already spread or is very large and obstructing the bowel."

Because there's some degree of discomfort, Berk says the doctor will put you to sleep during the procedure.

Berk says, "The real point of doing a colonoscopy is not to look for the cancer, but to find the precursors for cancer, called colon polyps. And by removing those polyps, you reduce the future risk of them becoming cancerous. Therefore it's not just a screening test, it's a preventative cancer test."

A week before your colonoscopy, you'll need to stop taking vitamins and minerals. Five days before, quit using aspirin and ibuprofen. Three days out, stop eating roughage like red meats, beans, lettuce, popcorn and nuts.

Two days before, you'll need to switch over to a liquid diet. You'll also need to take a solution to clear things out before your colonoscopy.

Berk says, "The purpose of finding the cancer at its earliest stage means the difference of greater than five years prognosis, versus if you find it in the final stage, less than six months of life."

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month, and Dr. Berk will be holding a free seminar at 6:00 p.m. Thursday March 28th at St. Luke's Magic Valley in Twin Falls.

Feb. 27, 2013.

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