Los Angeles Endoscopy Center Gastroenterologist Opines on CDC Report Showing Less Than Satisfactory Rate of Screening Colonoscopy

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Despite urging by experts, one third of Americans are still neglecting colonoscopy screenings.

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Despite its wide availability, many Americans are still neglecting screening colonoscopy (a potentially life-saving colon cancer test) according to a recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study. In its report released on November 8, 2013 at its website (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6244a4.htm?s_cid=mm6244a4_w), up to 20 million Americans between the ages of 50 and 75 have not had a colonoscopy. This is worrisome since up to 150,000 individuals in the U.S. are diagnosed with colon cancer each year. Early detection and treatment are vital to preventing this illness.

“This is similar to driving a car without a seat belt!” explains Dr. Paul M. Choi, a board-certified gastroenterologist, who heads the Los Angeles Endoscopy Center, located in southern California. He laments that “although most Americans would be horrified at the thought of driving without a seat-belt, apparently they don’t feel the same way about colonoscopies.” Remarkably, in the U.S., nearly twice as many die from colon cancer compared to motor vehicle accidents each year.

Because of the high incidence of colon cancer and effectiveness of colonoscopy screenings, everyone over the age of 50 is currently recommended to undergo this examination. Patient education is paramount in increasing awareness of the risks of not getting a colonoscopy (http://www.laendo.net/colonoscopy/what-is-colonoscopy/colonoscopy.html). Health care providers must partner with patients to detect colon cancer using colonoscopy screening before it is too late in the disease process. Patients may delay the procedure due to the unpleasant but necessary bowel preparation; missing work (it usually takes a day for the individual to undergo and fully recover from the procedure); and potential discomfort related to the procedure. Few may be unable to have the examination due to lack of health insurance, while others simply have not gotten “around to it.”

Excuses aside, Dr. Choi suggests “this study is a wake-up call for those 20 million Americans. It is time to reassess and start conquering this deadly cancer.” He is currently in the process of completing a new smartphone app called Colonoscopy Helper (http://colonoscopyhelper.com/). Soon to be available for both Android and iPhones, it should simplify the process of colonoscopy preparation, which remains one of main hurdles for those Americans who still have not undergone this important life-saving procedure.

The Los Angeles Endoscopy Center can be reached online at http://www.laendo.net or calling directly at (213) 387-9000.

Established in 1996, the Los Angeles Endoscopy Center has performed nearly 30,000 colonoscopies to date. It is a facility that is fully certified and approved by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The center is located only 3 miles from the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, and is open 6 days a week, including Saturdays from 6:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

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Natalie Seo
@LAColonoscopy
since: 09/2012
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Los Angeles Endoscopy Center
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