Among cancers affecting both men and women, colon cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. Fortunately, through Surgical Associates, there are convenient ways to screen and prevent colon cancer, right here in central and northern Wisconsin.
Colon cancer usually starts as a small, benign growth called a polyp. A colonoscopy is a very effective and relatively painless cancer screening method used to detect polyps or abnormalities and remove them. Certain kinds of polyps will almost always become cancerous if they are not removed, making colonoscopy screening vitally important for those at risk.
When colon cancer is found and treated in the early stages, it’s highly curable. Even better, colonoscopies often find and remove polyps at a precancerous stage—preventing colon cancer from developing all together!
When to get a colonoscopy screening
Everybody between the ages of 50-75 should be screened for colon cancer. People at high risk—notably those with a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps—should start earlier.
If you’re over 75, always had normal colonoscopy results, and are not experiencing any symptoms related to colon cancer, you can stop being screened. After the age of 85, all screening should stop.
What to expect with a colonoscopy exam
It’s normal to feel nervous before a colonoscopy, but at Surgical Associates, we do whatever we can to prevent any discomfort during the procedure. Patients are lightly sedated before the colonoscopy, and most do not remember the procedure when they wake up.
During the colonoscopy screening, a highly-skilled surgeon will guide a thin, flexible camera through the rectum and into the colon. The scope will inflate the colon with air to give the surgeon a better view. If any polyps are found during your colonoscopy, they will be removed and sent away for testing. The surgeon will also remove any other abnormal tissue that may warrant a biopsy. For most patients, a colonoscopy takes 30 minutes to an hour, depending on whether any polyps are removed.
Make an appointment
Dr. Miller will take the time to explain your procedure, answer any questions, make sure you are comfortable and provide reports immediately following the procedure.
Do you qualify for a FREE or reduced-cost colonoscopy screening?
As part of the Affordable Care Act, colonoscopies are often mostly or fully covered by private insurers and Medicare. Eligibility is determined by a number of factors, including your age, family history, personal health history, and insurance plan. To find out if you qualify for a free or reduced-cost colonoscopy, take Stop Colon Cancer Now’s Free Colonoscopy Quiz here.
To schedule your colonoscopy, call 1-888-278-3795.
For more information about colonoscopies, visit our colonoscopy screening FAQ page.