Colonoscopy- A Search & Destroy Mission

What if there was a way to prevent cancer from forming? You would think everyone would jump onboard. Truth is, a colonoscopy may be as close as it gets, but far too few people are following recommendations that could save their life.

“The guidelines would be at the age of 50 if you don’t have a family history. If you have a strong family history of colon cancer, someone who may be a parent or a first-degree relative, I tend to move that down to about 40,” says Dr. Steve Moenning, who is a colorectal surgeon with Lee Memorial Health System.

Colorectal cancer is highly preventable, yet it’s the second leading cause of cancer deaths. Both a screener and a treatment tool, doctors use the scope to search and destroy cancer.

The colonoscope consists of a tiny camera and cutting tool. Looking for pre-cancerous polyps, it can remove them during the same procedure. If cancer has already developed, the screening is still valuable.

“That colonoscopy is picking up the cancers when they’re earlier. It’s actually influencing in a very positive way the survival of those patients. So colonoscopies are really helpful in terms of improving your odds of beating cancer,” says Dr. Moenning.

Sometimes called a silent killer, it’s very possible to have colon cancer without knowing. Still a few potential symptoms stand out. Including blood in the stool, frequent stomach pain and unexplained weight loss. Taken together, these warning signs should move people to action.

“If they hear about those symptoms and we educate them, it gives them an opportunity to take control of their own health care,” says Dr. Moenning.

When it comes colonoscopy, what you don’t ‘do’ can hurt you.

View More Health Matters video segments at leememorial.org/healthmatters/

Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we’ve been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.

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