Porter Regional Hospital makes it a priority to educate those in the community about pressing health issues. Porter accomplishes this by hosting several lectures conducted by healthcare professionals. On the evening of Thursday, March 19, Porter opened its doors to the public for the event “Colonoscopies Made Easy”. Gastroenterologist Dr. Rajeev Tummuru directed the forum and emphasized the importance of colon cancer awareness.
Tummuru began his lecture by informing guests on what colon cancer is and what can cause it. Colon cancer is cancer of the large intestine (colon), the lower part of your digestive system. Colon cancer is formed due to errors in cell replication. Uncontrollable risk factors include include age, race, personal history of colon cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, genetic syndromes, and family history. However, Dr. Tummuru noted that lifestyle choices such as a high fat diet, smoking, consumption of alcohol, and little to no physical activity pose as high risk factors to contracting the disease.
“March is Colon Cancer Awareness month, and we decided that we would take the opportunity to make people more aware of a colonoscopy as a tool for colon cancer screening,” Dr. Tummuru said. “Colon cancer, being one of most common and preventable types of cancer, is an important matter to discuss with the community.”
Tummuru told attendees that it is extremely important for patients to be proactive when it comes to the spread of colon cancer, and informed them of the signs and symptoms look for. Symptoms that include: bleeding abdominal pain; iron deficiency anemia; change in bowel habits; and weight loss. A majority of cancers show no initial symptoms, so early detection is vital; the earlier the diagnosis, the better the prognosis.
“Right now, even under the best of circumstances, we find that one-third of people who should be screened have never had any testing done,” Dr. Tummuru added. “Part of this is due to the fear, misunderstanding, and dread involved with the idea of a colonoscopy. People don’t like to talk about it, so we hope that education about the subject clears any misconceptions.”
Colorectal cancer usually starts from polyps, or mucosal growths, in the colon or rectum. Over time some polyps can turn into cancer. Screening tests can find polyps and remove them before their growth becomes fatal. Tummuru noted that according to the American Cancer Society, if everyone aged 50 years or older had regular screening tests, at least 60% of deaths from this cancer could be avoided.
The colonoscopy screening process includes 4 steps: scheduling, bowel prep, procedure day, and recovery. It evaluates the entire colon and can be used for diagnostics and therapeutics. Common colonoscopy findings include hemorrhoids, arteriovenous malformations, and “looping”.
Overall, the event succeeded in accomplishing its objective. Not only did it provide the community with the opportunity to educate themselves about a growing health concern, but it also gave them the opportunity to schedule a screening in the near future.
For more information, please call 219-464-9507 to schedule your colonoscopy.