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Avera Medical Minute AMcK: Doctor sets example for patients by getting colonoscopy screening

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Published: Jul. 25, 2018 at 7:44 AM CDT
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Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths. However, it is one of the most preventable and treatable if detected early.

A doctor in Pierre wants to set an example to his patients when it comes to getting a colonoscopy.

“This is my first screening colonoscopy, yes. I’m 50 and it’s time to get my colonoscopy done,” said Dr. Rob Allison from Avera St. Mary’s in Pierre.

Dr. Allison wants his patients to know that colonoscopies are not only quick and painless but they could save your life – and what better way, than to show them.

“I think you have to talk the talk and walk the walk. I’m 50 and my whole practice in Pierre is preventative medicine. And this just proves that you need to get it done right away,” said Dr. Allison.

“Colonoscopy is the gold standard. From a convenience standpoint, it allows both diagnosis and any therapy that’s needed to be employed. So if you find a polyp with a colonoscopy exam, you can remove it and we do remove it at the same time,” said Dr. Hurley.

Removing the pre-cancerous polyp greatly reduces a patient’s chance of developing colon cancer.

“If you do detect colon cancer as part of that, we try to prevent it but if one is already present, we detect it, the earlier it’s detected, the lower stage of advancement, the better the outcome for the patient with that problem,” said Dr. Hurley.

Age 50 is recommended for your first colonoscopy for those with average risk. If you have family history, it’s recommended to have your first colonoscopy 10 years before their diagnosis.

“No, I don’t have family history of colon cancer. I have no bowel complaints; I have no issues whatsoever. I’m doing this because it’s the right thing to do,” said Dr. Allison.

“There are very few tests in medicine that are preventative. We aim to diagnose things and treat them but this actually can prevent the problem from occurring in the first place,” said Dr. Hurley.

Dr. Hurley says the colonoscopy screening is a safe and easy procedure.

“The test itself, we put an IV in place, you get sedation, you’re unaware of the test being performed and it can take as little as 15 to 20 minutes to do the actual procedure. It was very fortunate for him as his exam was normal, no family history for him in terms in terms of colon cancer. So he’s good for 10 years before he needs to have his next exam,” said Dr. Hurley.

“You should ask your provider to get this done and not be fearful of it. The prep isn’t miserable, getting it done, the service is good, and getting it done, it takes one of those things off your mind that you don’t have to worry about,” said Dr. Allison.

It is important to schedule your colonoscopy at least once every 10 years to help your doctors catch colorectal cancer in its earliest stages or before precancerous polyps develop into cancer.

For more information, just visit avera.org.