March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Holland Hospital Gastroenterology Check Up

March is the perfect month to discuss the important services available at Holland Hospital's new gastroenterology office and the convenient access to specialty care, including colonoscopies.

Holland Hospital Gastroenterology provides diagnostic services and medical treatment for many different issues affecting digestive health, according to Katee Hogoboom, PA. "We see the full spectrum of GI diseases from the esophagus and stomach to the small bowel, colon or liver. We also treat Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)."

Overall trends of colon cancer and mortality of colon cancer are going down. Still, colon cancer is increasing in people under the age of 50, which is why the recommended age for screening has dropped from 50 to 45. 

Hogoboom says colonoscopies can detect colon cancer and can detect polyps, which are removed during the procedure. “We evaluate the type of polyp to understand the risk of colon cancer for that patient and can modify timing of the next colonoscopy based on these results. We can also look for other diseases and causes of symptoms such as inflammatory bowel disease or microscopic colitis.”

There are few excuses not to screen for colorectal cancer in one form or another.

"If colonoscopy is not an option, there are at-home test kits or CT colonography, which examines the entire colon using computer imaging,” says Hogoboom. "Cologuard® test kits look for both abnormal DNA and blood in your stool. If results come back as abnormal, you'll still want to have a colonoscopy, but an at-home test is better than nothing, especially for those who have trouble with anesthesia,” says Hogoboom.

Physicians use conscious sedation during a colonoscopy. The anesthesiologist at the bedside ensures adequate sedation and comfort throughout the procedure, which typically takes approximately 30 minutes or less. After a short time in recovery, the patient can go home, resume a regular diet, and return to normal activities the next day.

Is it time for your colonoscopy?

Don’t put off routine colorectal cancer screenings. It’s a simple, safe and potentially lifesaving procedure. Talk to your primary care provider for a referral. Holland Hospital Gastroenterology and Holland Hospital General Surgery physicians perform colonoscopies at Holland Hospital.