The Importance of a Colonoscopy Dr. Theodore Parins, General Surgery:
I think colonoscopy is the best screening test available. I think it's better than any other screening test because of its ability to actually prevent somebody from getting a cancer, and we can remove polyps during the procedure. Most colon cancers start in a little polyp and grow into a cancer, so we want to remove any polyps that would be present.
Other methods of colon screening can be a fecal occult blood testing where you use a card and you put a little stool on there and see if there's any blood in there. There is a newer test called Cologard that looks at genetics of cells inside the stool. The downside of Cologard is, according to their own website 8 percent of colon cancers will be missed. So, the sensitivity is just not adequate. It is not up to par with the gold standard of colonoscopy.
I think that at Sauk Prairie Healthcare, we've been very active in bringing in the newest technologies and techniques in surgery. The day before, we start a bowel prep, and we like to do a split prep here where you drink a liter of solution the day before, and then you come in on the day of the colonoscopy, and a nurse anesthetist will make you very sleepy so you won't remember the procedure and you will not have any discomfort at all.
While you're asleep, we use a colonoscope, and we pass it all the way through the colon, and then we can look at all the surface of the colon and see if there's any polyps or any other abnormalities. If there is a polyp, I can remove it right at that time, and then we'd send it to Pathology and determine what kind of polyp this is and your risk for developing a cancer in the future.
On an average-risk person with no family history and no other problems, you should start doing colonoscopies at age 50. And if they're normal, or we find very simple polyps, then it can be done every 10 years. And I do think that they're embarrassed that we're going to see their backside or something like that, so they don't want to come in. And it's much easier to undergo a colonoscopy than to deal with colon cancer, for sure. End transcript.
If you have questions about a colonoscopy or would like to make an appointment, call us at 608-643-3311.
Sauk Prairie Healthcare
260 26th Street
Prairie du Sac, WI 53578