screening for colon cancer

Screening for colon cancer

While I’ve never known anyone who wanted colon cancer, I’ve also never known anyone who actually wanted a colonoscopy.

I remember when my dad turned 50 and his doctor told him he had to have one. He called his son “the doctor” and read me the riot act about the prep he had to take. That was more than 30 years ago and I still remember laughing that it was the only thing he ever yelled at me for that I hadn’t actually done. Having had a couple of the procedures, I see where he was coming from.
The thing about colonoscopy is it isn’t painful; it’s just inconvenient. You have to plan an evening around being close to the bathroom and spend a few hours at the hospital mostly waiting for a 15-45 minute procedure. When I talk to people before their procedure, those who have been through it before are all about just getting it done. People having their first colonoscopy are sometimes anxious and sometimes embarrassed. I understand those concerns: I’ve been on both ends of the scope.  
At HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital, it’s about low stress and good outcomes. I am always impressed with the sense of family at our hospital. The nurses, techs, assistants and providers are like a family and understand that the people who trust us to care for them are being welcomed into our family. When you walk in the door, you become the most important member of the team – the reason we are here.

The process will go something like this: the procedure is performed in the surgery department. You will be taken to a private room where you change into a hospital gown and are given a warm blanket to keep you comfortable. The only discomfort is the IV that is placed by one of our experienced nurses. Your family is welcome to stay with you until you are wheeled into the procedure room. When you get to the procedure room, you will meet the team that will care for you during your procedure. This entire team is responsible for your safety and the coordination of your care. The lights are turned down a bit, the anesthetist starts running medication and you fall asleep. During the procedure, the anesthetist never leaves your side. They monitor and document your heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate and level of comfort.
Once the procedure is complete, you are taken to the recovery room. After you wake up, the recovery room nurse will bring you that first cup of morning coffee you missed or a glass of juice and a muffin. Once you are awake and alert, the doctor will talk to you and your family, and then it is time to head home.
The procedure really goes so quick, that most people are surprised to find that the procedure is over and they have no recollection other than moving into the room and the lights going down. Speaking from experience, I can tell you it’s nice to wake up and know that you didn’t feel a thing.
To learn more about when you should have a colonoscopy, click here.

Contact Richard McNutt, MD, General Surgeon at (920) 965-7411