Healthcheck: Easing your fears on getting a colonoscopy

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A colonoscopy can help spot the colorectal cancer early and a local doctor has tips to make the process easier.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer. A colonoscopy can help spot the disease early and a local doctor has tips to make the process easier.

JoAnn Vanderslice turned 50 this year so it was time for her first colonoscopy.

Dr. Stacey Zavala of Einstein Healthcare says the goal of the procedure is to look for polyps - those are precursors to colorectal cancer.

She found one on this exam and removed it, thereby significantly cutting the risk for cancer.

However the problem is that many people never get screened.

One excuse is the preparation but Dr. Zavala says things have changed.

"The day of the gallon jug is not the only thing we have to offer for patients," said Dr. Zavala.

And when drinking any of the solutions, she has some tips.

You can mix it with a drink you like - as long as it's clear and non-alcoholic.

"I tell people as long as you can read a newspaper through the solution you can have it. Also to keep the solution cold, keep it in the refrigerator and they can also drink the solution in a straw to bypass the tastes buds," said Dr. Zavala.

The prep is vital so make sure you follow the directions exactly, including eating a light breakfast.

"Light breakfast is a little bowl of cereal or some toast - no steak and eggs," said Dr. Zavala.

There are also newer less invasive procedures such as a virtual colonoscopy, using a CT scan.

"Screening of any type is better than no screening at all," said Dr. Zavala.

With the less invasive procedures, if a polyp is found, you will need a traditional colonoscopy - but it could save your life.

And this is a message hundreds of people will be driving home on Sunday, for the 'Get Your Rear in Gear' race.

MORE INFORMATION:

-For more information about the 'Get Your Rear in Gear' race

-If you have a question, you can contact Dr. Zavala

-Plus for information on colorectal cancer and screening recommendations from the CDC

-Also, feel free to email Dr. Zavala at zavalas@Einstein.edu
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