Colonoscopy care for women

Woman with stomach pain.

You may have heard that colon cancer is more common in men. Actually that’s a myth.

Colorectal cancer is the third leading cancer diagnosed in both men and women each year in the U.S., and the second leading cause of cancer death. Men have only a slightly higher risk: 1 in 21 men vs. 1 in 23 women will develop colon cancer in their lifetime. The good news is that colon cancer is completely preventable, thanks to a colonoscopy.

A colonoscopy is a common procedure doctors use to detect and remove polyps. These are small, non-cancerous tumors that grow on the inner lining of the colon or rectum. They’re more common with age, sedentary lifestyles or in people with a history of inflammatory bowel disease. If left untreated, certain types of polyps can turn into cancer. The key is to find them and remove them before cancer develops.

During a colonoscopy, you’ll sleep under sedation while a specialist inserts a scope through your large intestine to check for polyps. Doctors can actually remove the growths during the procedure, which may eliminate the risk of cancer or catch it at its earliest, most treatable stage.

A colonoscopy is painless and highly effective. It’s recommended for most people starting at age 50, or earlier for those with high risk factors such as a family history of colon cancer. If your initial screening shows no signs of risk, you may not need another exam for 10 years.

Women especially are more likely to put off this life-saving exam, mostly due to embarrassment. It’s not exactly comforting to expose your derrière to a doctor, no matter how skilled he may be—we understand. That’s why the screening experts at Asante want women to know we have a female surgeon on board to perform your colonoscopy. She is gentle, skilled and discreet.

So don’t put off that screening any longer. See your provider for a referral or contact Asante General and Colorectal Surgery. You’ll be glad you did.

R. Scott Nelson, DO, provides specialized care for patients with digestive disorders and colorectal concerns. Dr. Nelson delivers knowledgeable and compassionate care to the patients affected by these and other related issues. He is board-certified in both general and colorectal surgery.

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Asante Walk for Hope

Celebrate with cancer survivors at this year’s Walk for Hope, scheduled for Oct. 5 at the Heimann Cancer Center in Medford. Register to walk or volunteer by Sept. 20 to receive a free T-shirt.