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March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month & Burien Digestive Health Can Help


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MARCH IS COLON CANCER AWARENESS MONTH and Advertiser Burien Digestive Health Center wants our Readers to know about “Easy Access” colon cancer screening:

You know you need to do it! Now it’s easier than ever to complete this important component of health screening. In the past, you may have gotten away with saying “I don’t have time for all those appointments!” or “It’s too much of a hassle,” but times have changed. Now you no longer need a pre-procedure office visit with a gastroenterologist. Instead, after a referral from your personal physician, you can visit a provider such as Burien Digestive Health Center and streamline the process into a single visit. It saves time, trips to the doctor’s office and even a little money.

Generally a colonoscopy done by a gastroenterologist is recommended as the best approach to colorectal cancer screening.The procedure is done under sedation so it is almost always painless. Many people feel the preparation beforehand is the worst part, but over the years these preparations have become quite a bit easier and well tolerated. While the process is not exactly fun, it has become relatively easy for the patient.

Why Colon Cancer Awareness?
Simply stated, March is Colon Cancer Awareness month probably because Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S.!  But it doesn’t have to be…it is one of the most preventable forms of cancer. Nine out of 10 colon cancers could be prevented or successfully treated with regular colon cancer screenings.

dressblue-2011-240x400Colorectal cancer is a cancer that develops in the large intestine [colon] or rectum. The primary goal of colon cancer screening is to help identify colon polyps and cancers at an early and very treatable stage, thereby preventing deaths from colon cancer.

All adults should undergo colon cancer screening beginning at age 50 or earlier. Someone’s individual risk factors for developing colorectal cancer, such as family history or life style, will help the physician determine at what age a patient should begin to have the procedure performed.

When the gastroenterologist performs the colon cancer screening tests he/she is looking for any abnormalities such as polyps or early stage cancers. Regular screening for and removal of polyps reduces your risk of developing colorectalcancer – by more than 90 percent. Nearly half of colon cancers are fatal if not detected early. During a colonoscopy agastroenterologist may detect an early stage cancer already present in the colon and by doing so increase the chances of successful treatment and in turn decrease the chance of dying as a result of the cancer.

What’s So Funny?
People tend to snicker at the whole idea of a colonoscopy. While a colonoscopy and the important information this simple test provides are critical to health maintenance, there is room for some humor and  Dr. Kramer has plenty of funny comments to share. According to him,  ”One man asked at the time of his colonoscopy for a note to give to his wife stating that, in fact, his head was not up there.  Another patient once asked if his dignity could be found during the procedure.” “And a third commented, after having had a colonoscopy, that he now knew how a Muppet felt.”  All joking aside, the most important thing to remember is that colon cancer screening easily, painlessly, and effectively saves countless lives every year.

Dr. Michael Kramer

There are several factors that increase an individual’s risk of developing colorectal cancer and mandate earlier and more frequent screening.  They include hereditary forms of colorectal cancer, age, a family history of colorectal cancer, African American race, and inflammatory bowel disease. Several potentially modifiable significant risk factors include obesity, smoking, excess alcohol, high fat low fiber diet, and lack of physical activity.
positive family history,  and individual lifestyle factors which increase the risk of colorectal cancer, including:

  • A diet low in fiber and high in fat and meat
  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • Cigarette smoking

Your personal healthcare provider can review you individual risk factors and provide a referral for a colonoscopy if it is appropriate for you. So don’t wait, put a conversation with your doctor on your to-do list. And remember, you can also help save lives by helping spread awareness about this disease and the importance of screening during March. Dress in blue on Friday, March 4th as part of National Colon Cancer Awareness Day. Learn more here:

http://www.coloncancerpreventionproject.org/colon-cancer/awareness-month.html

Your healthcare provider or gastroenterologist is the best source of information for questions and concerns related to your gastrointestinal health. So check with them, and if it’s right for you, consider an “Easy Access” colonoscopy at Burien Digestive Health.

Burien Digestive Health Center is located at Three Tree Medical Arts Building on the campus of Highline Medical Center in Burien, and can be reached by phone at (206) 242-1300, or at their website here.

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