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Colonoscopies save lives - One Woman's Story

Health, Wellness & You
Tuesday, March 22, 2011

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 first-time colonoscopy. “A colonoscopy is not painful, as one might expect, and the procedure lasts 30 minutes or less in many cases. Scheduling a colonoscopy is so much easier than dealing with cancer.”

Banbury has a family history of colon cancer, and had been experiencing symptoms before she had her colonoscopy. “I was experiencing prolonged constipation and even blood in my stool. It was when I had trouble eating that I decided to talk with my doctor about it. I’d eat very little, but have a tremendous full feeling in my stomach.”

colon polypColorectal 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 in preventing colorectal cancer because they can detect precancerous growths that can be removed easily, typically at the time of the colonoscopy.

Banbury continues, “I had stage 1 colon cancer by the time I went in, so I waited too long, however the tumor was removed in enough time to prevent its spreading further. 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.”

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. In most cases, this means only once every 10 years, more frequently if you have a family history or have had previous cancerous colon polyps.

According to Fort HealthCare general surgeons, Kathryn’s story is more common than you might think. 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.

Banbury urges, “If anyone delays getting a screening colonoscopy because of fear or apprehension, I really recommend that they speak with their doctor to get more information before it’s too late.”

As part of Fort HealthCare’s commitment to quality healthcare, new equipment for performing colonoscopies was installed at Fort Memorial Hospital. The Olympus Endoscopy equipment provides high-definition technology for a better picture and higher resolution. This means that surgeons are able to see more clearly any abnormalities that may exist in the colon. This technology places Fort HealthCare at the same level as big city hospitals using similar technology.

Anyone who schedules a first-time colonoscopy at Fort HealthCare by April 15 and completes the procedure by May 30 will receive a $10 fuel card at the time of the appointment. To book an appointment, call Fort HealthCare Surgical Associates at (920) 563-7900 or the Lake Mills Clinic at (920) 648-7683.

More information, including a 45-minute seminar on colonoscopies, can be found at 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.