Image by Charles Deluvio

All About Colonoscopies

By Tracy Hansen, APRN, FNP

The dreaded Colonoscopy…. Ugh!


It is sad but true, age 50 marks that magical age when we begin to hound our patients to get a colonoscopy. You know, the test where you do the dreaded prep to get your insides squeaky clean and then we view your rectum and colon with a camera on a tube (don’t worry we give you drugs so you won’t remember). Trust us, we do not recommend this test to torture you, but rather to detect colon cancer early and potentially save your life!

Colorectal Cancer Statistics, according to the American Cancer Society:

· 3rd most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women

· Approximately 97,220 NEW cases of colon cancer EACH year

· Approximately 43,030 NEW cases of rectal cancer EACH year

· Lifetime risk is 1 in 22 men and 1 in 24 women

· 3rd leading cause of cancer related deaths

The good news is this: deaths rates from colorectal cancer have been dropping and we can thank the colonoscopy and other screening methods for detecting this deadly disease early!

So, what are my screening options?

Well, the colonoscopy, as described by Jeff Foxworthy…. (might be a little exaggerated). This is the best test we have as we can actually visualize the colon. But there are other options:

We can check your stool with a sensitive test called Cologuard. This test is covered by most insurance companies (like the colonoscopy), but can be completed in your own home without a prep. This test is super easy as the kit is shipped directly to you. You provide the sample with no mess and then you can drop it off at a UPS or have them pick it up.

There are other stool-based sampling methods, but the one described above is the most sensitive and what we recommend at Murray County Medical Center.

If 50 is the new 30, then screening is more important than ever! Call Murray County Medical Center today to discuss this important screening topic with me or another health care provider!