Mar 4, 2013 11:47 AM by Marissa Torres
Death rates for Colon Cancer are down more than 30% according to the American Cancer Society. But still-- Colorectal Cancer is one of America's deadliest.
Protecting yourself and cutting your risk is easy, in fact, a 20 minute procedure could save your life.
"It's absolutely worth it to take the time to do a preventative study to make sure you don't have colon cancer."
So at the age of 53, Ken Zito had his first colonoscopy. He's what doctors call low risk- no family history, no concerning symptoms. That made him the ideal candidate for what's called a virtual colonoscopy.
The less invasive procedure doesn't require sedation and is able to deliver 3D images of the colon.
"Its just a matter of doing images, I was relaxed the entire time."
The images allow doctors to look for polyps, small growths on the lining of the colon or rectum that eventually turn cancerous.
"We're able to see the entire abdomen and pelvis. So we get extra colonic findings as well," says Dr. Paul Bauer, a radiologist with Premier Diagnostic.
It seems the biggest complaint with the colonoscopy is the preparation. No solid foods for 24 hours leading up to the procedure. A small price to pay for a procedure that could save your life.
"Patients who have screening colonoscopies are typically diagnosed 2-3 years prior to the time they would otherwise come in with symptoms," says oncologist Dr. Robert Hoyer, with Memorial Hospital.
If you're what's considered high risk for Colon Cancer, doctors recommend an optimal colonoscopy in which the patient is sedated.
The advantage of this procedure is that doctors are immediately able to remove any polyps that are found during the colonoscopy.
When Colon Cancer is detected at an early stage, the survival rate is 90%.
Anyone 50 or older is urged to get check, if you have a family history of the disease, that age is lowered to 45.