I recently had my third colonoscopy over the past 15 years.
Yes, the preparation is so unpleasant that it’s not easy to forget, but there’s an awful little secret that no one who has undergone this treatment will tell you.
The secret isn’t that you have to stop eating anything with nuts or seeds three days in advance and drinking only clear liquids while starving yourself for 24 hours before your procedure. Because I have a voracious appetite — even though I only weigh 146 lbs. — that’s torture in itself.
The mystery isn’t that you have to drink a horrific, nose-crinkling preparatory liquid that forces your body into stomach spasms that, for me, continued even after I arrived at my doctor’s office until just before anesthesia was administered.
The surprise isn’t that you’ll lose a few pounds of water — and get hemorrhoids — because of all the trips to the bathroom, feel weak, and just plain exhausted in the morning.
The enigma isn’t that you make countless trips to the bathroom just to make sure you’re not having an accident while sitting in a chair or lying in bed as your stomach does back flips.
The awful little secret isn’t that having a colonoscopy can save your life if your internist finds malignant polyps that could become cancerous and you’re catching them early.
No, the real secret is that this 30- to 45-minute colorectal cancer screening procedure is now so streamlined, so simplified, and so straightforward that it has saved millions of lives and will save countless more, despite the discomforts.
A few facts to consider:
- Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death by cancer in the U.S.
- Colonoscopy is the only screening technique for cancer that can prevent it, not just detect it.
- Far too many people 50 and over either just don’t get around to scheduling it, fear having the procedure because of the horror stories they’ve hear from friends and family, or just don’t think they’ll ever get any type of cancer.
But if you’re proactive about screening for colon cancer like I am, even though it may be quite unpleasant for about 24 hours, you may be able to live a lot longer than if you don’t.
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SGD is a San Francisco Bay Area advertising, marketing and branding agency specializing in the senior and boomer markets. We’ve successfully positioned, branded and rebranded senior-oriented companies, weaving traditional and online tactics to create compelling stories that drive response.
About the Author: Gil Zeimer is a Partner at SGD Advertising.