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Colonoscopies can Save Lives - One Woman's Story

Health, Wellness & You
Monday, March 15, 2010

Colon cancer is the third most common cancer and one of the most preventable. Kathryn Banbury of Lake Mills knows this first hand. Because of a brush with colon cancer, she strongly encourages people to schedule a screening colonoscopy. “A colonoscopy is not at all painful as one might think, and the procedure lasts less than a half of an hour in many cases. Scheduling a screening colonoscopy is so much easier than dealing with cancer.”

Banbury has a family history of colon cancer, and she had been experiencing symptoms before she received her colonoscopy. “I was experiencing prolonged constipation and even blood in my stool. I also would eat very little, but have a tremendous full feeling in my stomach, and I couldn’t eat anymore. It was when I had trouble eating that I decided to talk with my doctor about it.”

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among men and women in the United States. In fact, one in 16 people will develop colon cancer in their lifetime. The good news is that this disease can be prevented. Screening colonoscopies are vital to preventing colorectal cancer because they can detect precancerous growths that can be removed easily, typically at the time of the colonoscopy.

Banbury continues, “It turns out that I had waited a bit too long to have my colonoscopy performed, because I actually had Stage 1 colon cancer already. The tumor was removed in enough time to prevent its spreading further, and I have been following my doctor’s care plan and taking better care of myself ever since. I can’t stress enough the importance of this screening test, because going through cancer treatment is much, much worse than the screening itself.”

Banbury urges, “If anyone delays getting a screening colonoscopy because of fear or apprehension, I really recommend that they speak with their doctor about it and learn more information before it’s too late.” It is very important to follow the American Cancer Society guidelines for regular colorectal screening because finding and removing polyps in the colon can prevent colorectal cancer.

“Kathryn’s story is more common than you might think,” stated a Fort HealthCare general surgeon. “The vast majority of colon and rectal cancers start out as a small polyp, pea-sized or smaller, which gradually transforms into cancer over 10 or more years. As nearly all polyps and most small cancers have no symptoms, the best way to detect and remove them is during this simple and safe outpatient procedure. Most colonoscopies take 30 minutes or less, and in most cases need to be done only once every 10 years, providing an easy way to help prevent colon cancer from developing.”

Fort HealthCare is making a special effort during March’s Colon Cancer Awareness Month to convince age-appropriate individuals to receive a first-time screening colonoscopy. Any eligible patient who schedules and comes in for a colonoscopy before March 31, 2010 will receive a $50 fuel card. Eligible patients who make an appointment before March 31, but receive the procedure between April 1 and May 31 will receive a $10 fuel card. Eligible patients are 1) those over age 50 who are otherwise healthy and have not had a colonoscopy in the past; or 2) those with a family history of colon problems and who have not had a colonoscopy in the past.

When you call to schedule your first colonoscopy before March 31, you’ll be entered to win a three-night Florida Dream Vacation at Captiva Island’s legendary ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort. To be entered to win the Florida Dream Vacation, you must bring to your procedure appointment the postcard you received via mail or printed “Lifetime of Good Health Promotion PDF” from our website at Tween Waters vacation is donated by the resort in support of Fort HealthCare’s efforts to raise awareness of colon cancer prevention.

To book an appointment with Jonathon McLaughlin, MD, Marc Erickson, MD or Bill Kontny, MD call Fort HealthCare Surgical Associates at (920) 563-7900. For an appointment with James Wishau, MD, an internal medicine physician with who includes colonoscopy and endoscopy in his practice, call the Fort HealthCare Lake Mills Clinic at (920) 648-7683. Appointments available before March 31 are limited and available on a first come, first served basis. If you are not ready to make an appointment at this time, you are welcome to schedule a colonoscopy at anytime throughout the year. For more information on this promotion, visit

Fort HealthCare participates in most insurance plans. Many insurances offer coverage for most common, age specific screening tests, including colonoscopies. Please consult with your insurance provider if you have questions about coverage. Visit for more information.