HealthWatch (WFRV) Colon cancer is the third most common diagnosed cancer in the country. In fact, each year, more than 50,000 people die from colorectal cancer.
March is colon cancer awareness month so it's a good time to find out when you need to get screened.
A lot of people put off getting a colonoscopy for a variety of reasons, They don't have any symptoms of colon cancer or they're afraid or embarrassed to get the procedure.
But not getting screened, when its recommended-- could put your life at risk.
Jim Schaetz knows at what age most people should get their first colonoscopy.
"You hear the reports of how people should have a colonoscopy when you turn fifty." said Jim
But Jim said he was chicken to get one. "You hear horror stories about things.. I was still leading an active lifestyle and putting it off and not actually admitting I was 50 years old."
Finally at age 59 Jim decided it was time to go to Aurora BayCare Medical Center for his first colonoscopy.
"Realizing that I had an Uncle that had a little bout with it and curiosity, let's get things checked out. and see if there is anything wrong." explained Jim.
Gastroenterologist Dr. Jay Bosco said that was a smart decision. "Most colon cancers are preventable if patients go under an adequate and appropriate type screening and follow screening recommendations."
Dr. Bosco says most people should get their first colonoscopy at the age of 50, earlier if they have a personal history of polyps, a genetic predisposition like Krohns Disease, or a family history of colon cancer.
"If a family member is diagnosed at the age of 55 then we would recommend coming in at the age of 45 for the initial screening test." said Dr. Bosco.
There are some warning signs of colon cancer like rectal bleeding, pain, bloating or diarrhea. But the problem is-- the most common symptom is no symptoms.
"In fact, the majority of patients are A symptomatic." said Dr. Bosco.
So getting screened could save your life. "The risk of colon cancer drops dramatically up to 90 percent in those patients so it has a very strong protective effect and subsequent development of colon cancer." said Dr. Bosco.
And there is nothing to be afraid of. A colonoscopy is an outpatient procedure that takes about 20 minutes under sedation.
"It was a breeze." said Jim.
Jim got a clean bill of health and recommends others get screened.
Most insurance plans cover colon cancer screenings and colonoscopies.
To learn more you can call Aurora BayCare at (920) 288-8000 or email email@example.com