Quad Cities, IL/IA

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Proper Colon Screening Saves Lives!


March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month, and groups throughout the United States are organizing events and promotions to educate people about the disease and raise awareness about the fact that proper colon screenings can reduce or eliminate the risk of colon cancer.

The advantage of having these types of procedures done at an outpatient facility is that most people feel physically and emotionally more comfortable in an outpatient setting.

Colorectal Cancer
Among cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Although more than 50,000 people die from this type of cancer every year, it is highly treatable — especially when detected early.

Despite this, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that roughly 23 million Americans above the age of 50 — or 28 percent of people who should be screened — have never undergone a preventative colon cancer screening.

“Early detection literally saves lives,” said Dr. Shashinath Chandrahasegowda (Dr. Shashi) at the Gastrointestinal Clinic of Quad Cities. Dr. Shashi regularly performs colonoscopies and other colorectal cancer screening procedures for patients at the Mississippi Valley Endoscopy Center.  Dr. Shashi says, “It can take an average of 8–10 years for a polyp (or small growth) to develop into colorectal cancer. By doing a regular screening, your doctor will be able to remove certain types of polyps before they have a chance to turn into cancer. It can also result in finding cancerous polyps early, when they are still highly curable.”

Colon cancer screenings should begin at age 50. However, Dr. Shashi warns that if a family history of colon cancer exists or if you are showing any symptoms such as blood in stool, stomach pains, or rapid weight loss, you should be tested earlier.

Types of Screenings Available
There are several tests to screen for colorectal cancer in people with an average risk. Dr. Shashi will typically work with patients to determine which option is right for them. Tests can be divided into two broad groups:

  • Tests that can find both colorectal polyps and cancer: These tests, such as flexible sigmoidoscopies and colonoscopies, look at the structure of the colon itself to find any abnormal areas.
  • Tests that mainly find cancer: These involve testing the stool (feces) for signs that cancer may be present. These tests are less invasive and easier to have done, but they are less likely to detect polyps.

Screenings can be conducted in an outpatient setting, and mild sedation to full general anesthesia is available to ease the anxiety associated with these procedures.

“Many people are afraid or embarrassed when thinking about having a colonoscopy. Advances in medication and technology has improved the experience for persons undergoing a colonoscopy,” said Elizabeth Hayman, RN, BS, CGRN, and Nurse Manager of the Mississippi Valley Endoscopy Center. “You’ll quickly realize that the process is much more convenient and personal than in a hospital setting. We’ll ensure a relaxed and comfortable environment where you’ll receive excellent care and service.

The Gastrointestinal Clinic of the Quad Cities is located at 5041 Utica Ridge Rd. in Davenport. To learn more or to make an appointment, call 563-359-9696. To learn more about the Mississippi Valley Endoscopy Center, go to www.mvhealth.net and visit Facebook at facebook.com/MississippiValleySurgeryCenter.

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