The Importance of Colonoscopy

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

We know you dread it. But the test, which detects colon cancer, could save your life. Just ask Central Florida resident Pat Thorbin.

“In my mid-50’s, I decided to have my colonoscopy,” she recounts. “I had no family history of the disease, no symptoms and no reason to believe anything would come of it. But after years of working in healthcare, I’ve always been a big supporter of preventative screenings, so I knew I shouldn’t hold off having a colonoscopy any longer.”

Pat had partaken in fecal occult screenings for the disease with her primary care physician on a regular basis prior to her colonoscopy. Those tests always came out negative.

A week after her colonoscopy procedure, her results were revealed to her. She had a particularly aggressive form of colon cancer, but it had not yet spread beyond the wall of her colon. After a successful surgery, she was cleared of the cancer without any need for follow-up chemotherapy.

Pat has now been a colon cancer survivor for nine years, and she’s a testament to the power of advanced screenings. “I was very fortunate,” Pat says. “But I am convinced I am alive today because I took initiative and had my colonoscopy when I did.”

Colon cancer is one of the top causes of cancer-related death in the United States, but it certainly doesn’t have to be. In fact, the disease is overwhelmingly curable when detected at an early stage. But many people don’t get screened for the disease when they should because they have an unreasonable fear of undergoing a colonoscopy procedure.

"The procedure itself isn't uncomfortable in the least," Thorbin says. "In fact, it only takes 30 to 60 minutes, and you're asleep through most of it."

To schedule your colonoscopy, call Watson Clinic's gastroenterology department at 863-680-7490.

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