When Dr. Kent Sasse heard we were going to do this series in March he gladly offered to add a colorectal surgeon’s point of view and share another great reason to get screened for colorectal cancer
As if we don’t already have a large number of great reasons to get screened for colorectal cancer, I will offer you another one, based on my experience as a colon and rectal surgeon treating this disease daily on the front lines: it is usually curable with a minimally invasive procedure. That’s right, even in the worst case scenario after a screening colonoscopy, if you learn you had a positive test and have cancer, it is usually curable without a large scar, without a colostomy bag, and without a long recovery time.
But we are getting ahead of ourselves. There is even better news because the vast majority of the time, there is no cancer and no pre-cancerous growth, only reassurance. Sometimes, however, the screening colonoscopy detects a precancerous polyp that is removed right then and there without surgery or any further procedures. That means the cancer can never develop at all. It’s what makes colorectal cancer arguably the most preventable form of cancer in the world today. More than any other kind of cancer that humans face, this one can be detected early, and it can be eradicated without surgery long before it even forms into a malignancy.
In a small percentage of screening colonoscopies, a tumor is detected that has become malignant, and that is where I come in. The next step is surgery, but I often find how pleasantly surprised my patients are to learn that we will more than likely be achieving a curing with a minimally invasive surgical procedure. Usually the procedure requires an hour or so in the operating room using tiny keyhole incisions followed by a few days the hospital and a few weeks recovering at home.
Sometimes we fear the worst, and we let our fears lead us to delay undergoing a valuable screening test for a serious and common disease. Early detection is the key. The sooner you act to get tested, the more likely that any growth will be pre-cancerous and completely removed. And today, modern colorectal surgical procedures are less invasive and safer than ever before. So don’t add unnecessary risk by delaying a screening evaluation for colorectal cancer.
Act today: the news is most likely better than you fear. It certainly will be sooner than later.
– Located in Reno, Nevada, Dr. Kent C. Sasse heads up Sasse and Associates, which is Northern Nevada’s premier provider of minimally invasive surgical solutions. Dr. Sasse is a recognized expert in minimally invasive surgery, bariatric surgery, colorectal surgery, and childhood obesity prevention.