Gil I. Ascunce, MD
Gastroenterologist located in Midtown, New York, NY
It may seem counterintuitive to visit the doctor when you are not feeling sick, but screening tests are one of the best tools of modern medicine to keep us all healthy. Board-certified gastroenterologist Gil I. Ascunce, MD, provides colon cancer screening with colonoscopy to prevent the disease before it has a chance to start. For more information or to schedule an appointment for a colorectal cancer screening, call Dr. Ascunce’s office in Manhattan of New York City on Madison Avenue or use the online booking feature.
Colon Cancer Screening Q & A
What is a screening test?
In general, a screening test is used to prevent a disease. Screening tests are usually performed in healthy people who feel well and have no symptoms. In other words, screenings are usually regularly scheduled exams that look for common diseases, as opposed to diagnostic tests that a doctor orders to investigate specific symptoms.
Some of the most common types of screenings include pap smears and mammograms, which screen for cervical cancer and breast cancer, respectively. Colonoscopy is one of the best, and most effective screening tests available in modern medicine. Colonoscopy is also cost effective, and it is much better for everybody to have a colonoscopy than to treat people for colon cancer.
What is a colon cancer screening?
Colon cancer is an especially dangerous form of cancer that can grow and develop for months or even years without any obvious symptoms. Colon cancer can be prevented by regularly scheduled screening tests. Screening tests include stool tests and colonoscopy. A colonoscopy is performed to look for small growths in the colon called polyps, and remove them before they have a chance to turn into cancer.
We do not know what causes polyps, and polyps usually do not cause any symptoms. A colonoscopy is performed to hunt for these polyps and remove them before they have a chance to grow into cancer. Dr. Ascunce is very experienced and proficient at finding and removing these polyps
What is a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a procedure that uses a camera on the end of a long, thin, flexible tube called a colonoscope to examine the inside of your colon, or large intestine. The colonoscope is inserted through your rectum, and gently advanced to examine the whole colon, and it allows Dr. Ascunce to view the lining of your colon on a monitor in real-time.
A sigmoidoscopy is a similar procedure that only investigates the lower portion of your colon. If polyps are seen during your flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy, they are removed to prevent cancer.
Do I need to be screened for colon cancer?
If you are over age 50 and have not had a screening test for colon cancer, now is a good time to start. Over 90% of cases of colorectal cancer occur in people older than 50, so when you reach that age, you should make screenings a regular part of your preventive health care.
Colonoscopy has been very effective at decreasing the incidence of colon cancer in people over age 50. However, newer statistics also show an increasing rate of colon cancer in people younger than age 50. This has led to recent recommendations by the American Cancer Society to begin screening for colon cancer at age 45. Moreover, your risk for colon cancer may depend on your family history; and some people are advised to have a colonoscopy at an earlier age.
Tell Dr. Ascunce if you have a family history of colon cancer or disease, or if you have a personal history with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis (UC), or other gastrointestinal illnesses, as these can be risk factors for colorectal cancer and make more frequent tests necessary.
If you are interested in setting up an appointment for a colon cancer screening, call the office of Gil I. Ascunce, MD, or schedule an appointment online today.