Healthy Living: Preparing for colon cancer screening
When faced with a routine colon cancer screening, many patients are fearful of the preparation leading up to the procedure. But as Casey Bortnick explains, it’s much easier today than it used to be.
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With 16 years of veterinary experience, Dean Snyder knows the importance of a proper exam...uncomfortable or not.
When it was time for a routine colon cancer screening, Dean kept an open mind. He wasn't concerned about the procedure; he was concerned about the prep.
"People told me oh yeah, it's a horrible experience," said Snyder.
The idea is to flush out your system. To do that, patients take laxatives in pill and liquid form.
"No matter what product we give you, you're going to have a moving experience," said gastroenterologist Dr. Anil Sharma.
Dr. Sharma said as bad as this regimen may sound, years ago it was worse. Generally, the prescription was a gallon of a chalky, bitter tasting solution the evening before the exam. Today, there's a new option: powdered laxative than can be mixed with a sports drink, cutting what the patient has to drink down to 64 ounces.
"You're going to have to go through four to six hours of diarrhea and that's going to be a little uncomfortable, and we can't change that, but at least we can make it taste a little better so you're willing to go through the whole prep and have it be a more productive procedure for you," said Dr. Sharma.
Dean said prep wasn't nearly as bad as he thought it would be.
"For me, it wasn't a big deal whatsoever. I think that being afraid of it or being concerned was the biggest issue," said Snyder.
He followed his doctor’s instructions and got good results.
"Since my colon was clean, he picked up on two of these polyps. He removed them," said Snyder.
A small price to pay, he said, for peace of mind.