Granite Peaks Gastroenterology Disputes Common Myths Associated with Colonoscopies in an Effort to Save Lives

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Granite Peaks GI Recognizes Colon Cancer Awareness Month and Seeks to Raise Awareness

Granite Peaks Gastroenterology is a local medical provider that specializes in providing life-saving colon cancer screenings to the public. For the second year in a row, Granite Peaks has partnered with other local medical providers as well as the American Cancer Society (ACS) to raise community awareness about the importance of colonoscopies.

Colorectal cancer is the nation’s second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths — coming in as the second most common cancer diagnosed in men and the third most common in women. Unfortunately, one in three people who develop colon cancer will succumb to the disease. However, it is one of only a few cancers that can be prevented. Through proper colorectal cancer screening, doctors can find and remove hidden growths (polyps) in the colon, before they become cancerous. Colorectal cancer screening has been proven to save lives, and removing polyps can prevent cancer altogether.

“Colon cancer is preventable. A screening colonoscopy is painless, modest and safe,” said Dr. Christopher Cutler, board-certified gastroenterologist at Granite Peaks . “This simple test could save your life. Many patients have remarked, ‘If I had known how easy this procedure is, I would have scheduled a colonoscopy a long time ago.’”

Due to the many misconceptions about colonoscopies, many people are hesitant to undergo this life-saving procedure. Granite Peaks is seeking to educate the local community about the common myths of colonoscopies in an effort to save more lives.

Myth: I don’t have any symptoms. I’m not at risk for colon cancer.
Fact: Colon cancer starts as a precancerous growth in your colon called a polyp. Most polyps don’t cause any symptoms. A colonoscopy detects polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer.

Myth: A colonoscopy is too painful!
Fact: With the use of the sedative Propofol, there is no pain. Most people say, “That was the best sleep I have had in years.” After the procedure, there may be some mild cramping which quickly goes away when you pass gas.

Myth: The preparation is unpleasant.
Fact: While many people say this is the worst part of the process, the fact is that bowel preps today really have minimal taste. And you no longer need to drink an entire gallon. Most preps are about 1/2 gallon given in a split dose; half the night before the procedure and half the morning of the procedure.

Myth: It is embarrassing.
Fact: A colonoscopy is an invasive test. But your doctor and nurse will do everything possible to ensure the most private, respectful, and modest experience for you.

Myth: It is too risky.
Fact: When performed by specially-trained physicians (gastroenterologists), colonoscopies are extremely safe. The risk of perforation (tear in the colon) is less than 1 in 1,000, and the risk of bleeding is less than 1 in 100.

Myth: It takes too long. I’ll miss too much work.
Fact: You will need to arrive 45 minutes before your scheduled procedure to fill out paperwork, have an IV started, and give your medical history to the nurse. The actual procedure only takes 15-20 minutes. You will then spend 15-30 minutes in recovery. So the total time you are at the medical facility is usually less than 1 and 1/2 hours. You are advised not to drive for 4 hours. After that, it’s back to normal.

Myth: It costs too much.
Fact: The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires private health insurers to cover recommended preventive services such as colonoscopies without any patient cost-sharing. Medicare and Medicaid cover 100% the initial screening colonoscopy if you are age 50 or older. And even if you don’t have insurance, many physicians offer a private pay discount.

“Colorectal cancer is a major public health problem and adults age 50 and older should be regularly screened for it, but we have found that many people aren’t getting tested because they don’t believe they are at risk, don’t understand that there are testing options or don’t think they can afford it,” said Dr. Andrew Heiner, another board-certified gastroenterologist at Granite Peaks. “The truth is that the vast majority of cases of colorectal cancer occur in people age 50 and older. Colorectal cancer in its early stages usually has no symptoms, so everyone 50 and older should get tested. Plus, many public and private insurance plans cover colorectal cancer screening and there may be local resources available to help those that are uninsured.”

For more information or to learn about resources in your area, visit: utahcolon.com or http://bit.ly/coloncancerawareness

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Granite Peaks Gastroenterology specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the digestive system. Granite Peaks GI’s board-certified physicians provide consultations at two locations, in Sandy and Lehi. They perform endoscopic procedures, including colonoscopy and upper GI endoscopy. For more information about Granite Peaks Gastroenterology or the digestive conditions its physicians treat, please call (801) 619-9000 or visit granitepeaksgi.com

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Tara Alvey

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