Take The Test
The verdict is in. Colonoscopies do prevent deaths from colon cancer. A new study conducted at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center involved 2,602 patients who had precancerous growths removed during colonoscopies and who were followed for an average of 15 years.Their risk of dying from colon cancer was 53 percent lower than what would be expected among a similar group in the general population.
It is recommended that people age 50 start having colonoscopies. Still many people don’t do it even when it is suggested. Why? Because one has to watch one’s diet for a few days before the test and undergo a vigorous prep the night before and the morning of the test. There is also a certain squeamishness about the test itself in which a thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera is guided through the large intestine.
But ThirdAge staffers who have had colonoscopies say it is not bad at all. Yes, the prep does keep one close to the bathroom for a few hours but it is no different than a spa-style high colonic which some models and celebs swear by. And most people are under anesthesia when the test is performed. “You are out like a light. It is totally restful and you wake up and feel terrific," one woman said. Another noted you are three pounds thinner—at least for a few days.
Not only are colonoscopies important in removing precancerous growths they can also find colon cancer in its earliest stage when it is over 90% curable. And if one is found polyp-free in a colonoscopy, one does not have to repeat the test for ten years. Isn’t a few hours of discomfort worth peace-of-mind?