Don't wait for cancer symptoms. Have a colonscopy.
?Checking for colon polyps helps to prevent colon cancer and save lives,? according to Blair Holder, M.D., one of several physicians on the Union Hospital staff who perform the colonoscopy procedure. Dr. Holder says 50,000 new cases of colon cancer are diagnosed annually. Half of those patients will not experience any symptoms or warning signs until the cancer has spread.
Symptoms of colon cancer include blood in the stool, rectal bleeding, and changes in bowel patterns. But the doctors warn - If you wait until you have symptoms, it could be too late!
Miguel Bravo, M.D. is board-certified in colon and rectal surgery and urges people to have their first colonoscopy by the age of 50, or earlier in some cases. ?Patients with a family history of colon cancer should have their first test done five to ten years prior to the age of their family member when diagnosed.?
Miguel Bravo, M.D., uses a high resolution video system to
conduct the colonoscopy procedure.
During a colonoscopy, the physician will be looking for colon polyps and other signs of cancer or pre-cancerous conditions. Joseph Zemis, M.D., a board certified surgeon, says he finds polyps in 30 to 40 percent of the colonoscopy procedures he does. ?In the course of some colonoscopy examinations, early forms of colon cancer are effectively treated by removing polyps during the procedure.
All the doctors say that colonoscopy is an easy procedure but some patients delay having it because of fear or embarrassment. ?It?s a very low-risk procedure,? Dr. Zemis adds. ?Nearly all my patients say they had no pain or discomfort.?
Last year 2,205 colonoscopies were performed at Union Hospital and at the Tuscarawas Ambulatory Surgery Center in Dover.
Physicians performing colonoscopy at Union Hospital facilities include:
Miguel Bravo, M.D.
Blair Holder, M.D.
Robert Levitt, M.D.
R. Todd Miller, M.D.
Matthew Phillips, M.D.
Jeffrey Prem, M.D.
Joseph Zemis, M.D.
Many insurance companies and Medicare will pay for screening colonoscopy. Check with your insurance company to determine your screening benefits. For assistance in selecting a physician who performs colonoscopy, contact the UH Physician Referral line at (330) 602-0778.