Embarrassment and colonoscopies

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Every year thousands of people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Our medical staff and surgeons have some of the most incredible tools that exist. However, no amount of tools will ever replace the early detection of cancer. Being able to catch cancer before it spreads opens up so many options. The problem is, early detection requires an active approach. They have to want to beat cancer before it starts. This kind of preemptive thinking is hard for some people. We get so busy with our lives, the last thing we want to think about is cancer. That needs to change. We need to change our perception of the procedure, so embarrassment and colonoscopies don’t go hand and hand.

Normalizing colonoscopies

According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third most diagnosed form of cancer in the United States. This is a troubling statistic because it shouldn’t be so prevalent. We understand this disease and have ways to deal with it, but we still need to participate. When a person gets to 45, a colonoscopy should be an expected procedure. It should provoke little to no anxiety. It’s just another check-up with a bit more homework.

We’ve seen it all

I observe a lot of disgust for the procedure. I know the preparation for a colonoscopy is unpleasant, usually resulting in many trips to the bathroom, but it isn’t as bad as you think. What really concerns me is how embarrassed some people are about safeguarding their own health. Embarrassment and colonoscopies seem to be fused, especially in our community. In a hospital, medical staff is trained to confidentially treat a massive range of patients from every walk of life. I guarantee you, the surgeon performing your colonoscopy has seen it all. There is no need to be afraid or embarrassed.

Take a minute to watch this informative video. This video explains the procedure and its benefits.

Take action

If you find yourself avoiding a colonoscopy out of fear or embarrassment, ask yourself, is cancer embarrassing? Sometimes we have to do things that make us uncomfortable and a colonoscopy is definitely on that list but so is cancer. I want people to make the right choice! Be an active participant in your health. If you’re staring down 45, don’t wait for your doctor to bring it up; just ask about getting a colonoscopy. For more information about colon cancer screening at Tri-County Health Care, click here. Call 218-631-3510 to schedule an appointment!

About the guest author: Travis Swartz, DO

Dr. Swartz has a long history of helping people overcome health challenges. His passion for people is evident in and out of the operating room. When he isn’t with patients, Dr. Swartz enjoys spending time with family or fitting in a remodeling project.


Step-by-step guide to colonoscopies

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All too often, people fear the unknown. In the realm of healthcare, this is especially true. Part of receiving care at a hospital or clinic is getting quality consultation about procedures, medication and better living practices. Colonoscopies are no different. If a person is approaching 50 years of age, it’s time to start thinking about scheduling a colonoscopy. However, many people in this age range put it off. Using this guide is a step in the right direction.

Travis Swartz, DO, has spent a great deal of his career performing this procedure, helping hundreds stave off colon cancer. According to Dr. Swartz, the main reason people avoid a colonoscopy is embarrassment. They think being sedated and having an endoscope inserted into their rectum is an invasion of privacy with outcomes not worth the hassle. This belief is simply not true. Although it is not a fun activity, screening is a great tool to discover cancer.

A step-by-step guide

A great way of reducing anxiety is to break things down into pieces. Dr. Swartz has put together a guide to coloscopies at Tri-County Health Care. It covers everything from the initial consultation to discharge.

Travis Swartz, DO, wants you to take steps toward better colorectal health.

Travis Swartz, DO

  • According to the Mayo Clinic, a person should receive a colonoscopy around 50. Follow-up colonoscopies will depend on a patient’s risk for cancer.
  • Typically, a primary care provider discusses a colonoscopy during an appointment. If they don’t, ask about it. An active approach is the best way to prevent colon cancer.
  • The procedure usually takes place about a week after scheduling.
  • There is preparation to do before a colonoscopy. Cleansing the colon is the most difficult aspect of the process. A patient will need to consume around a gallon of liquid mixed with a medicine that will force bowel movements.
  • Avoid red or blue liquids because they create issues with the imaging equipment.
  • You will get a confirmation call before the appointment.
  • After check-in, you are brought to a private room and to meet with the surgeon. Shortly after, patients meet with the anesthetist.
  • The patient goes back to the colonoscopy suite. In the suite, a surgeon, a reporter and an assistant will complete the procedure.
  • The patient is sedated during a colonoscopy. The actual procedures takes around 30 minutes. The entire process takes around three to four hours.
  • After, the patient returns to the private room. The patient enjoys a meal and sent home.

Efficiency

Technology, colonoscopies have come a long way. The screening only takes a few hours. The patient goes home the same day with no special instruction for recovery. According to Dr. Swartz, patients are usually very tired from being up most of the night. Most go immediately home to enjoy a nice nap.

Tri-County Health Care offers multiple colon cancer screening options. Visit TCHC.org for more information about screenings. Call 218-631-3510 to schedule.