SAINT LOUIS, Miss. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Ninety-percent of all colon cancers are preventable, yet more than twenty-four million Americans who should have the recommended screening test will not do it. There are three things your doctor wants you to know that should change the way you think about colonoscopy.
Sixty-year-old Patricia Kamler always keeps up with routine maintenance. Whether it’s her flower garden or her health. Although the idea of colonoscopy made her squirm.
She said, “It’s like you’re going to do what to me, how?” 
During colonoscopy, doctors pass a thin scope through the colon to check for polyps, tiny growths that can eventually turn into cancers.
Gastroenterologist Matthew Ciorba says for starters, think of colonoscopy as a one-stop shop.
Matthew Ciorba, MD, gastroenterologist at Washington University in St. Louis, said, “The advantage is not only can you diagnose cancer at the early stages or the precursors of cancer, but you can also remove them at the time of the procedure.”
Patricia said, “The prep is the bad part. Plain and simple.” 
Doctors say the prep necessary to completely clear the colon has vastly improved.
Doctor Ciorba explained, “Now there are some other options that can use about half that volume, so about a half a gallon of liquid.”
Best of all, many patients are now “under” anesthesia.
“Most of the time, patients enter into a relative dream-like twilight zone level and when they wake up, they don’t even remember the procedure was done,” said Doctor Ciorba.
With a family history of colon cancer on both sides, Patricia got over her initial objections.
“They did find polyps the first several times that I had colonoscopies,” she said.
All caught early, before they could become life-threatening.
“It’s worse in your brain than in reality,” Patricia told Ivanhoe.
Patients are most concerned about the risks of perforating the wall of the colon and reactions to the sedative. Doctor Ciorba says the risks are rare, and colonoscopy is still considered the gold standard for screening in the U.S.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath Field Producer; and Brent Sucher, Videographer and Editor. 
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BACKGROUND: A colonoscopy is a test that allows doctors to look at the inner lining of your large intestine (rectum and colon). The doctor will use a thin, flexible tube called a colonoscope in order to look at the colon. A colonoscopy helps find ulcers, colon polyps, tumors and other areas of inflammation or bleeding. They can also be used as a screening test to check for cancer or precancerous growths in the colon or rectum (polyps). Colon cancer is one of the most common cancers in men and women. One out of every 20 people will get colon cancer; which means that with 136,000 Americans being diagnosed every year with this disease, colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the country with over 50,000 deaths every year. Today, over 65 percent of people with colorectal cancer can be cured in comparison to 1970 when 50 percent of people were cured. It is possible to find a cure for the cancer but patients must be diagnosed in the early stages. In fact, colon cancer is said to be 90 percent preventable but approximately 24 million Americans who should have a colonoscopy screening haven’t done so. has created a digital quiz to dispel the myth that getting a colonoscopy is expensive because some consumers are eligible for a free or low-cost screening colonoscopy under the Affordable Care Act.
PREVENTION: There are several tips that a person can use in order to prevent and screen for colorectal cancer; which can potentially save your life. One can avoid colorectal cancer by eating a cancer-preventative diet which means less red meat, more nuts, fibers and grains, less fat and five servings of fruits and veggies daily. Exercising, limiting alcohol, quitting smoking, maintaining a normal and healthy weight, and taking aspirin daily (depending on what your doctor says) are ways to avoid colorectal cancer. Also, if you have a family history of colon cancer, or of any of the following cancers: uterus, stomach, pancreas, bladder, ovary, brain, skin, liver or esophagus, make sure to discuss this with your doctor and see if there’s a gene test that you can take. Another preventative measure is to get a colonoscopy to remove polyps because it’s easier to cure the earlier it is detected. Lastly, if you have any of these symptoms: blood in the stool, abdominal pain that lasts more than two weeks, abdominal swelling, indigestion, cramps, or weight loss, then you should see your doctor and ask them if this might be an early sign of colon cancer.
NEW REGULATIONS: Many people who need to get a colonoscopy don’t usually go through with the procedure because it’s either too expensive or simply unpleasant. But even if you don’t have an increased risk for colon cancer, doctors recommend beginning screenings by age 50. There are some other alternatives for people who don’t want or can’t afford a colonoscopy. One option is the fecal immunochemical tests (FIT) which are approved by the FDA .Other screening options are flexible sigmoidoscopy, or CT colonography.
* For More Information, Contact:
Judy Martin
Director, Media Relations
Washington University of St. Louis
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