Affiliated Organizations
  HN Medical Partners   School of Nursing   HNH Fitness   Villa Marie Claire   Simulation Learning   Haiti Health Promise
Medical Partners Offices
Cardiovascular Specialists University Orthopaedic Pulmonary Specialists Obstetrics & Gynecology North Jersey Heart North Jersey Surgical Surgical Specialistss Primary Care Specialty Assoc. Urologic Specialties Women's Health Care

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. No one loves the preparation for a colonoscopy, but by staying up to date on yours, you’re greatly reducing your risk of colon and rectal cancer, sometimes referred to collectively as colorectal cancer. Regular colonoscopies can catch these cancers early, when they’re easiest to treat, and can even prevent them altogether.

People who have no family history or symptoms of colorectal cancer should get their first colonoscopy at age 45, says Holy Name colorectal surgeon Dr. Christina Seo. That guideline has changed in recent years based on a troubling and so far unexplainable trend.

“We’re seeing younger and younger people with colon cancer today, so we’re trying to catch them early,” she said.

Symptoms to call your doctor about include rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, weight loss, a change in bowel habits, and anemia.

Dr. Seo acknowledges that the hardest part of a colonoscopy is the prep, which involves drinking a solution that empties your bowels and causes diarrhea. However, she tells her patients to keep in mind that they’re doing this at most every three years, and that’s if their colonoscopies show any polyps. For people who have a completely clear colonoscopy, they can safely wait another five to ten years before having another.

At-home colorectal cancer screening tests, such as Cologuard®, are OK for people who have no symptoms, family history, risks, or history of polyps, Dr. Seo said. But there’s no reason to fear a colonoscopy: The actual test is a “piece of cake,” she says, painless, and over in 20 minutes. Plus, there are now better-tasting solutions and others that are smaller in volume. Talk to your doctor to find out if you’re a good candidate for these options.