Colonoscopies save lives
I don't think anyone really looks forward to getting a colonoscopy. But if you've just turned 50 or have a family history of colorectal cancer, this is the perfect time to schedule one. March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.
A dear friend of mine learned she had colorectal cancer after getting a colonoscopy. In its early stages, colorectal cancer has few symptoms. Caught early on, 90 percent of colorectal cancers are curable. That's why screening is so important.
Colorectal cancer is the No. 2 cause of cancer deaths that affect both men and women. Every year, more than 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and more than 50,000 people die from it.
The good news is that fewer people are dying from colorectal cancer thanks to screening. A colonoscopy allows your physician to look at the inner lining of your large intestine through a thin, flexible tube. A colonoscopy helps find ulcers, colon polyps, tumors and areas of inflammation or bleeding. Abnormal growth can be removed or treated before it turns to cancer.
Because your risk for colorectal cancer increases with age, experts recommend that you get regular cancer screening starting at age 50. BCBSND's MediQHome program alerts health care providers when patients are due for life-saving preventive screenings—such as colonoscopies.
Help spread the word
North Dakotans rank last in the country for getting colonoscopies. If you know of someone who is putting off their colonoscopy, give them a little encouragement. If that someone is you, be brave and schedule your appointment today.