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Colon Cancer Ė a simple screening can save your life!
All Americans are at a significant risk for colon cancer with approximately 1 in 20 developing the disease in their lifetime. It is much more common after the age of 50 and often times seems to run in families. It is also associated with inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and even diabetes mellitus, heavy alcohol consumption and obesity.
How can you defend yourself? Get a colonoscopy! Colon cancer cannot only be found, but often removed at a very early stage through colonoscopy. Patients are sedated for this procedure, in which a small camera is advanced through the colon so the cancer can be found at a very early and curable stage. For most people, age 50 is a good time to start obtaining routine colonoscopies. Your doctor can advise you best, however.
Follow-up colonoscopies can be advised based on your family history and earlier findings.
What else can you do? Live healthy! Good defenses against colon cancer include a diet high in fruits and vegetables and regular activity. Donít let this deadly disease sneak up on you. Talk to your doctor about a healthy lifestyle and take the initiative to ask when you should have a colonoscopy and when you are due for your next endoscopic study. An ounce of colonoscopic prevention is worth a pound of surgery and chemotherapy to treat this disease after it is advanced.
Samuel Heiser, MD is a board certified general surgeon who practices at Riverview Hospital. For more information, call (317) 776-8748.
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