March is colon cancer awareness month and according to the Centers for Disease Control, it’s a leading killer among men and women.
60 year old Jill Gay is a medical assistant and she loves to make people laugh. But when it comes to her health, she gets serious. “I want more grandchildren and I want to be healthy and be able
to enjoy those children for as long as I can, and I intend to do that.”
Gay recently had her first colonoscopy. “The procedure was so quick and so easy. I had no pain,” she said.
“Most people have the misconception that it’s painful, or its a big procedure that will require them to be off work for a few days, and that’s not the case,” said Dr. Brent Bennett. At CHRISTUS Family Medicine in Hope, Arkansas, Dr. Bennett said he has daily conversations with people about why they should get a colonoscopy.
Experts said it’s the most effective way to prevent colon cancer, which often displays few symptoms. “By the time you’ve developed symptoms which would be constipation, blood in your stool, things like that, usually that’s a sign of an advanced cancer, Dr. Bennett said.
Doctors recommend most people 50 years old and up get checked. Some may need to be checked sooner if there’s a family history. “When I do follow-ups with patients that have had colonoscopies done, they always say that it was not that big of a deal as they thought it would be,” Dr. Bennett said.
Experts encourage you to get annual checkups and talk to your primary care doctor about whether a colonoscopy is right for you.