Among cancers that affect both men and women, colon cancer (also known as colorectal cancer) is the second leading cause of cancer in the United States. If everyone 50 years or older had regular screening tests, at least 60% of deaths from this cancer could be avoided. If you are over 50, you should speak with your doctor about colon cancer screening. Screening can find this type of cancer before symptoms develop, when it’s easier to treat and survival rates are better. Screening can help find growths called polyp8s that can be removed before they turn into cancer. Your risk for colon cancer may be higher than average if: You have a presence of colon polyps, you or a close relative have had colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer, you have inflammatory bowel disease, family history of inherited colorectal cancer or inherited colorectal symptoms and if you smoke, are overweight, do not exercise, or eat a lot of red meat.
Colonoscopies are a pain in the butt; it’s usually a very invasive test that allows your doctor to see your inner beauty by looking at the inner lining of your large intestine (rectum and colon). They jam a thin, flexible tube called a colonoscopy up your chocolate channel to look at your colon; this tube is from 48 inches to 72 inches long with a teeny tiny camera attached to the end of it. A colonoscopy helps find ulcers, colon polyps, tumors, and areas of inflammation or bleeding. While having that little tube up you, they sometimes take a sample of whatever they find.
Before this test, you will need to clean out your colon (colon prep). The prep takes 1 to 2 days, depending on which type of prep your doctor recommends. It consists of drinking stuff to make you poop. Lots of it. And you can’t eat. Some preps may be taken the evening before the test, for others it’s an all day ordeal. The thing is, you can’t have anything in your channel or they can’t see the walls and what’s clinging to them. As in polyps, or even cancer.
For many people, the prep is worse than the test. The bowel prep may be uncomfortable, and you starve on the clear liquid diet, the contrast medium they make you drink tastes worse than what comes out. You’d have to stay home during your prep time and stock up on toilet paper since you will be squatting often. The colon prep causes loose, frequent stools and diarrhea so that your colon will be empty for the test. How awful does that sound?
Good news though, Saint Luke’s Hospital has just added a new mean machine to their equipment. It's called the Somatom scope, and it’s a top-notch state of the art CT scanner, one of the most versatile in the industry. This baby set St Luke’s back $750,000 and that ain’t pesos.
It sends out very low radiation, which is key when scanning completely healthy patients, you don’t want to over radiate yourself. And its extra speedy, so as not to linger over your body, inflicting unnecessary radiation into you. And, you don’t have to hold your breath till you turn blue. And you keep your pants on. Because of this high speed, an entire heart can be photographed faster than a heartbeat.
This scanner is great for whole body checkups, including lung imaging, virtual colonoscopy, bone imaging. and it’s great for young children who squirm, and claustrophobics too. (Because the machine is open).
There are two methods that can be used to deal with any bad stuff that has been found by this noninvasive easy CT scan.
the patient wants to have a same day standard colonoscopy when a polyp is identified, he or she waits under an hour to confirm if a polyp has indeed been found. (This is how long it takes to study the images from the CT scan.)
If a polyp is identified in that, the patient then has to go through the standard colonoscopy with the rotor rooter up the chocolate channel, like in the days before this CT scanner.
But, if the CT gizmo finds nothing, you jump off the table, and get out of there.
Dr. Luis Sotelo is the leading gastroenterologist in Los Cabos, and resident specialist at Saint Luke’s Hospital. To learn more about colon cancer screening tests, arrange a consultation with Dr. Sotelo, who will review your present condition, and discuss the best option for you.
This virtual colonoscopy is $475, and a standard colonoscopy $633, Prices include sales tax. Contact Saint Luke’s for more details - there’s no better time to learn the facts about colon cancer and get tested, remember it’s Colon Cancer awareness month, there’s lots of deals right now.