Colonoscopy – if it’s good for the president, it’s good for you

Here are 10 points that can prevent this needless tragedy of suffering from bowel cancer.

DR. GIFFORD JONES

How foolish some people are. Even when it means dying from a large bowel cancer at an early age. I`ve seen it happen many times over the years. So here are 10 points that can prevent this needless tragedy.

One – about 90% of colon cancer occurs in people over 50 years of age. This provides ample time to detect and treat this malignancy. But there is one big hurdle, and I`ve heard friends and patients react to it over and over again. They casually respond, “Yes, I`m going to have a colonoscopy one of these days.”

Ninety-nine per cent of the time this means none of these days. And I’ve seen some of these people die horrible deaths from this common preventable malignancy.

Two – colon cancer usually starts in the inner lining of the intestine. A polyp, a fleshy growth, slowly develops, often remaining non-cancerous for years. But, when polyps turn into cancer, 95% called adenocarcinomas, by this time cancerous cells have spread to the liver and other parts of the body. Now treatment is like closing the barn door after the horses have escaped.

Three – do not conclude you can wait until early symptoms appear and then consult your doctor. This is the same as trying to purchase insurance on your home after it’s been destroyed by fire. You can have an advanced malignancy without any early symptoms. This is one point you should never forget.

Four – the first warning sign (not early sign) of colon cancer and the most common one is rectal bleeding. Sometimes a small amount of blood will appear on the stool. Or blood from earlier bleeding which was not detected may give stools a tarry appearance. Or a large amount of blood will be present in the toilet bowl. And on rare occasions, an enlarging cancer will cause intestinal obstruction.

Five – the best way to diagnose a precancerous bowel polyp is by colonoscopy. A lighted flexible instrument is inserted into the rectum and gradually and slowly inched forward until it has explored the entire large bowel. If a polyp is discovered a wired loop is placed around it and the polyp removed.

Six – some patients who refuse the colonoscopy procedure can use a test to check for blood in the stool that cannot be seen by the naked eye. But if the test is positive, it’s mandatory to have a colonoscopy. Never fool yourself that it’s as accurate as this procedure.

Seven – many people refuse colonoscopy due to embarrassment and fear that it’s a painful procedure. Forget the embarrassment. If the President of the U.S. or the Queen of England can submit to one, so can you. I’ve had several colonoscopies by 8 a.m. and returned to the office by 9 a.m. without sedation. But if a few cramps bother you, sedation is available. Some people worry about possible complications. But only on rare occasion is the bowel injured or bleeding occurs during removal of polyps.

Eight – today, colon cancer is the second leading cause of death in this country. Only lung cancer is responsible for more deaths. We do not have a reliable way to diagnose precancerous lesions of the lung. But we can detect precancerous lesions of the colon. So it’s a tragedy when so many still die of this disease.

Nine – there’s no general agreement on when to have a colonoscopy. Ninty per cent of colon cancer occurs after 50 years of age. But since some begin earlier, I believe it’s prudent to have a colonoscopy in the early 30s. Moreover, since 10 to 15% of colon malignancies occur in those with a close relative who has the disease, all the more reason to arrange for an early colonoscopy. It’s a win/win situation.

Ten – if I still haven’t convinced you that colonoscopy can save your life, what should you do? I’d suggest seeing a psychiatrist. After all, isn’t it reasonable to seek an answer for why anyone would refuse a sure cure for colon cancer?

See the web site www.docgiff.com. For comments, go to info@docgiff.com.

 

Just Posted

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer COVID cases continue to fall

114 cases in Red Deer, down one from Saturday

File Photo
Blackfalds RCMP seeking suspects in traffic collision

RCMP are asking the public for help identifing two suspects wanted for multiple offences

Maskwacis Pride crosswalk (Left to right): Montana First Nation Councillor Reggie Rabbit, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Louise Omeasoo, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Katherine Swampy, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Shannon Buffalo, Samson Cree Nation Chief Vern Saddleback.
Pride in Maskwacis

The 4th inaugural Maskwacis Pride crosswalk painting took place on Saturday 12, 2020.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives at the 2021 budget in Edmonton on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta launches COVID vaccine lottery with million-dollar prizes to encourage uptake

The premier says the lottery will offer three prizes worth $1 million a piece, as well as other prizes

The City of Red Deer sits at 249 active cases of the virus, after hitting a peak of 565 active cases on Feb. 22. (Black Press file image)
Red Deer down to 119 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 179 new cases Saturday

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Children’s shoes and flowers are shown after being placed outside the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario commits $10 million to investigate burial sites at residential schools

Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified 12 locations of unmarked burial sites in Ontario

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

In this Saturday, May 29, 2021, file photo, people crowd the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions will disappear Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With COVID tamed, it’s a ‘grand reopening’ in California

No more state rules on social distancing, no more limits on capacity, no more mandatory masks

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam leaps over a tackle during second half CFL western semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CFL football will be played this summer in Canada

Governors vote unanimously in favour to start the ‘21 campaign on Aug. 5

Most Read