A colonoscopy is your best defense against colon cancer, the third leading cause of cancer death. Studies show it can reduce colorectal cancer deaths by 60-70% (source: National Cancer Institute). It takes 15 to 20 minutes to safeguard your health.
Colorectal cancer is a major public health concern. It is preventable, treatable and curable once detected early emphasized Dato’ Dr Meheshinder Singh, Consultant General & Colorectal Surgeon in Beacon Hospital. “And colonoscopies are the best tool to reduce that risk.”
Here are Five Reasons to Get a Colonoscopy
1. Colon cancer can happen to anyone
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths. Most individuals who develop colorectal cancer are above the age of 50. However, in the past decade, the incidence of colon cancer has been rising among younger adults. It can affect anyone, including younger healthy individuals without any family history of the disease.
2. Colonoscopies prevent colon cancer
Unlike many cancers, colon cancer is preventable. Majority of colorectal cancers arises from small growths known as polyps that develop on the lining of the colon or rectum. Over time, these polyps predominantly the adenomatous polyps enlarge and can transform into cancer. During a colonoscopy, doctors identify and remove these polyps. This removal significantly reduces the risk of developing colon cancer.
3. Colonoscopies help detect cancer early
In most cases, polyps and early-stage of colorectal cancer, patients may not mount any symptoms. The primary purpose of colonoscopies is to detect and remove polyps before they progress into cancer. Therefore, it is crucial not to wait for symptoms to spur you into action, as statistics have shown that most who present with symptoms, would usually present in stages 3 or 4.
4. Colonoscopies are accurate
Doctors refer to colonoscopies as the “gold standard” for good reason. They can identify over 95% of cancers and precancerous polyps within the colon.
5. Colonoscopies are safe
Contrary to rumors, colonoscopies are extremely safe when performed by experienced specialists.
Yes, there is a risk of bleeding and perforation (essentially, a hole in the colon). However, these risks are minimal. Fewer than 1 in 1,000 individuals experience bleeding or a perforation during the procedure. In contrast, approximately 1 in 18 people will develop colon cancer in their lifetime.