March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Submitted by an anonymous patient & Digestive Disease Consultants


I bet taking care of your colon is the last thing on your mind. I know that was true for me. So many of us are caught up with the hustle and bustle of life whether it’s work, school, home maintenance, family, exercise, or simply making dinner and doing the laundry. It seems like there is always more and more to do with less time to do it. And for me, there was always an excuse!

Colon Cancer is a silent killer.  It is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in American men and women. Don’t wait until you have symptoms!  If you are 50 or over, take the time to schedule your screening colonoscopy. Just do it! Check with your insurance provider – screening colonoscopy could be covered at no charge.

The prep at home prior to my colonoscopy was really not as bad as I imagined (see below for some tips). Once I got to the doctor’s office for the procedure, it was easy. My physician and staff were so kind, professional, and I was comfortable throughout! Much to my surprise I found out I had colon polyps. Left there to grow, they may have turned into colon cancer. I didn’t have pain, bleeding, or change in bowel habits. There was really no way of knowing – I felt just fine.

My doctor talked to me right after the procedure about my polyps and how they were removed. Now the polyps are gone and better yet, my doctor helps me keep track of my next check up. Since ongoing surveillance is so important, my doctor’s office will notify me of my next colonoscopy so I can get back to my busy life. And next time, I will NOT put it off!

Pick up that phone and make the appointment. The people who love you will be happy you did!

Easing your Colonoscopy Prep

I know this process isn’t fun. But it’s super important, and there a few things to make it a little easier:

  • Follow your doctor’s instructions: Take notes and ask questions if you don’t understand something.
  • Arrange your schedule: You’ll want to be home – near your bathroom – at prep time. If you have children, perhaps find help while you’re “occupied.”
  • Consider cutting back on fiber a couple days before: Fiber is the indigestible part of plant foods and may leave residue in the colon. Fiber food examples:
      • Beans
      • Nuts and seeds
      • Raw fruits and vegetables
      • Whole grains
  • Maintain a liquid diet: Water only can get boring. Have a few other options on hand.
      • Clear warm broth
      • Plain coffee, tea, ginger ale, apple or white grape juice
      • Italian ice
      • Jell-O (no red or purple)
      • Popsicles
      • Gatorade or Propel if diabetic
  • Drink your prep: Some of these solutions don’t taste great, but as mentioned, it’s the most important part of the prep process!
      • If allowed by your physician  –  add flavoring such as Crystal Light if the prep isn’t flavored
      • If allowed  –  drink it cold. Mix it ahead of time (earlier in the day) and place in the refrigerator, unless instructed otherwise by your physician
      • Use a straw
      • Suck on a lemon or hard candy afterward
      • Continue to drink plenty of clear liquids to flush your colon
  • Get Ready: Once the prep solution starts working, be near a bathroom.
      • Wear comfortable clothing
      • Have soft toilet paper
      • Use skin-soothing products such as A&D ointment, wipes, or Vaseline
      • Keep entertainment items handy like books, a laptop or a tablet