4 Reasons You Should Schedule a Colonoscopy

March 15, 2024

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month — are you taking steps to ensure a long, healthy life? Taking care of your health means scheduling regular screenings. For patients ages 45 and older, this includes scheduling a colonoscopy once every 10 years. Although this procedure may be difficult to discuss for some due in part to societal stigmas and misconceptions, the truth is colonoscopies can have a profound, positive impact on your long-term health. Check out four reasons you should schedule a colonoscopy and help ensure many more happy, healthy years in your future.

Early detection saves lives.

As a leading cause of death in the United States, colorectal cancer is expected to claim more than 53,000 lives in 2024, according to the American Cancer Society. However, scheduling a regular colonoscopy can drastically reduce the risk of fatality by detecting colorectal cancer in its earliest stages. The American Cancer Society reports a five-year relative survival rate of 90% if cancer is detected early enough. This is also reflected in long-term data, which shows a steady decline in the number of deaths per 100,000 people per year since the mid-1980s, a likely result of increased screenings.

More thorough than other screenings.

Some patients opt for alternate screening methods such as fecal immunochemical tests (FIT) and stool DNA tests. While these methods can detect colorectal cancer, they may fail to detect precancerous polyps. But even if polyps are detected, removing them would require a separate procedure. On the other hand, precancerous polyps found during a colonoscopy can be removed during the same procedure.

Quick and painless.

Occasionally, patients will express anxiety leading up to a colonoscopy, afraid the procedure will be painful and uncomfortable. However, patients will discover they can’t feel a thing — this is because patients are sedated for the entire procedure. The drawback to this is the patient will require a ride to and from the clinic. Thankfully, a colonoscopy generally only takes about a half-hour.

Secures peace of mind.

Knowing for sure is always better than guessing. Unfortunately, colorectal cancer symptoms aren’t always immediately obvious, especially in early stages of the disease. So, many people go through life assuming everything is fine while allowing precancerous polyps to develop into a more serious, life-threatening condition. A colonoscopy provides the assurance of a clean bill of health — and if a minor condition is detected, it can be dealt with right away.

Don’t just assume — know for sure. Dr. John Bozdech, Dr. Todd Petty, and Dr. Harsha Polavarapu all perform colonoscopies at the Culbertson Specialty Clinic. To schedule an appointment, contact the Culbertson Memorial Hospital Patient Access Department at (217) 322-4321, ext. 5271.