High-Fiving Where the Sun Don' t Shine
All three colonoscopies didn't hurt. In fact, the only thing I remember of them was the sweet dream a little versed and dilaudid can induce. The first could actually be my first anatomy class. Some previous girlfriends would beg to differ!
I was 17 years old and after years of digestive problems I finally earned a trip to where ‘the sun don’t shine’. They tried to knock me out but didn't quite get it right. Seeing the inside of my own body was, I thought, 'so cool'!
Recently, I saw a commercial on television featuring patients exiting the colonoscopy suite high fiving everyone outside. I'm not sure it quite captures the mood of relief after the experience but kudos for the public awareness campaign. I'd rather spread the word about a possible life saving colonoscopy than about the HPV test no one really needs, or the Viagra. Personally I think they should follow every Cialis commercial with one for genital herpes. But I digress.
Colon cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women and is responsibly for nearly fifty thousand deaths per year. This year alone, 150,000 people will be diagnosed with this disease.
Although there is no study proving that colonoscopies prevent colon cancer there is a lot of indirect evidence to support this hypothesis. Early carcinomas have been found in adenomas and the distribution of the two in the colon is very similar. Guaiac stool cards have been found to decrease the rate of colon cancer, presumably because they lead to a colonoscopy.
I understand the recent popularity of virtual colonoscopy, however, from this perspective I can say it's "virtually" useless, for anything other than making the radiologists richer. The preparation for the procedure is exactly the same and at least during a colonoscopy the patient receives sedation. Furthermore, during a colonoscopy, if something is found it can be resected immediately. If a cancer or polyp is found on a virtual colonoscopy the patient will need a real colonoscopy to boot. Bottom line, from the perspective of a three time veteran of colonoscopy the prep is by far the worst part of it and it's not any more comfortable for a virtual colonoscopy.
And this is the most important reason for getting your colonoscopy. There are only a handful of cancers for which prevention is effective, the rest are either screened for (to identify those who already have the disease) or not even screened for (no effective test). A colonoscopy can not only screen but at times can actually be curative.
It seems a complete waste when a father or a grandmother dies from a CANCER that could have been cured in a matter of minutes years earlier.
So get past your homophobia and get a colonoscopy if you need one. It rarely hurts, I promise.
And take my word for it; a little Versed is a lot of fun!