State health dept. encourages regular colon screenings - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

State health dept. encourages regular colon screenings

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DES MOINES (KWWL) -
Birthdays, holidays and vacations are all events to which we typically look forward. Colonoscopies or colorectal cancer screening tests are not.  In fact, some people will come up with just about any excuse to avoid them.  A new campaign by the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), ‘No Excuses Iowa,' acknowledges that a colonoscopy is not something most people look forward to, but encourages Iowans to stop putting off important colorectal cancer screenings.
 
"We know colorectal cancer screenings are not something people like to think or talk about," said Jeanna Jones of the IDPH Colorectal Cancer Program. "When it comes to excuses not to get screened, we've heard them all.  We hope this campaign will show Iowans the benefits far outweigh the inconveniences of colorectal screenings.  The bottom line is these screenings save lives."
 
Common excuses for putting off colorectal cancer screenings include:
  • "I heard the prep is really bad" – The evening before the colonoscopy, you will be given medication that will clean out your colon.  This mean you'll have frequent, watery diarrhea for several hours.  Pleasant?  Not really.  But not much worse than what you've gone through if you ever have had a stomach bug that caused diarrhea.
  • "It sounds embarrassing." – Yes, it does sound embarrassing.  But you'll be asleep most of the time.  You won't remember a thing.
  • "I don't have any symptoms" – Seven out of 10 people diagnosed with colorectal cancer had no signs or symptoms.  That's why screening is so important.  When caught in the early stages, colorectal cancer is 90 percent treatable.
During March, which is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, several providers are offering low or no-cost colorectal cancer screenings. For a list of providers, visit www.canceriowa.org/IGS-Map.aspx. In addition, free screenings are provided to eligible individuals. To find out if you qualify, visit www.idph.state.ia.us/IGS/Eligibility.aspx.
 
According to the American Cancer Society, a regular colorectal cancer screening test (colonoscopy) should begin at age 50; however, you should talk with your doctor about screening before age 50 if you have a family history of colon cancer, are African-American, or have been diagnosed with Crohn's or inflammatory bowel disease.
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