Heartland Clinic Partners

Gastroenterology Consultants Heartland Center for Motility Valley View Pain Center Heartland ENT Regional SurgiCenter Valley View Anesthesia Midwest Clinical Research Associates Valley Laboratories

A Life Saving Procedure

Article Date: August 08, 2009
Partner Site: Gastroenterology Consultants

Colon Cancer is the second most common cancer killer in the United States.  Over 140,000 people become victims of this type of cancer every year.  While Colon Cancer can be incredibly deadly, it is also highly preventable.

“I’ve treated a lot of Colon Cancer in my 30 years of practice.  It is so frustrating to see this disease crop up in normally healthy people.  Most of them would have had a much better outcome if they had taken the time to have a colonoscopy,” says Dr. Rao V. Movva, Medical Director at Gastroenterology Consultants, S.C., located in Moline, Illinois.

A colonoscopy is your ticket to Colon Cancer prevention.  Most Colon Cancers develop from small polyps which are abnormal growths of tissue.  Colonoscopies allow Gastroenterologists, like Dr. Movva, to check your colon for polyps.  The procedure involves a flexible light tipped tube inserted into your colon through the anus, which allows the doctor to take a better look inside.  If a polyp is found, it can be easily removed during the colonoscopy.  A Colonoscopy can prevent up to 90 percent of colon cancers and it is hard to argue the same success rate with other cancers.  Breast cancer and cervical cancer can only be detected early; they can not be prevented by a single test. 

Unfortunately, in most colon cancer cases there are no noticeable symptoms.  That’s why it is so crucial to schedule a screening colonoscopy when you turn 50 years old.  However, a screening colonoscopy should be scheduled sooner than age 50 if you have risk factors such as a history colon cancer or colon polyps in your family or a history of ulcerative colitis or crohn’s disease.   About five percent of the population has an 80 percent risk of developing colon cancer due to hereditary factors.

As colon cancer progresses, some symptoms do begin to appear.  Sometimes, patients will see blood in their stool, experience sudden weight loss or become anemic.  If this happens to you, please get checked immediately.  These symptoms are also indicators for other gastrointestinal diseases.

Let’s put this in perspective, 1 out of every 18 people will develop colon cancer within their lifetime.  Yet, only 30 percent of the population undergoes a screening colonoscopy compared to 80 percent that undergo mammography and PAP tests. 

Dr Movva states, “It is a shame for anyone to die of colon cancer in this day and age, yet 60,000 people continue to die each year.  This is more than the number of people who died in the entire Vietnam War.”  The only way to decrease this mortality rate is to increase the utilization of screening colonoscopies. 

Be pro-active and discuss a Colonoscopy screening with your health care provider.  Help them choose a qualified gastroenterologist or colorectal surgeon to perform your colonoscopy.  When asked, Dr. Movva states that he has done more than 50,000 colonoscopies in his career with very low complication rates.

Together we can fight against colon cancer by scheduling your next colonoscopy.  Learn more about colon cancer prevention and the benefits of colonoscopies at www.gastroconsultantsqc.com.

Back to all articles.