On March 28, 2012 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. (PST), Drs. Raman Menon and Nicholas Procaccini from Swedish hosted a livestream to discuss the benefits of colonoscopy, and why it is important that everyone at age 50 get screened. Patients at risk and those with family members who have had colon cancer may need earlier screening. March is colon cancer awareness month – and Swedish is committed to identifying new ways of communicating to better inform and to provide a new level of education to the community.
Colon, or colorectal, cancer is cancer that starts in the large intestine (colon) or the rectum (end of the colon). Other types of cancer that can affect the colon include lymphoma, carcinoid tumors, melanoma, and sarcomas. These are often rare but can often be detected by a colonoscopy.
During the livestream, these doctors featured a video stream of two recorded colonoscopy procedures (one male patient, one female patient) performed at Swedish, accompanied by a live chat by Drs. Menon and Procaccini.
A colonoscopy is the endoscopic examination of the large bowel and the distal part of the small bowel with a CCD camera or a fiber optic camera on a flexible tube passed through the anus. By having a colonoscopy, doctors are able to see potential ulcerations or polyps within the colon. During the procedure, if these are found, doctors have the opportunity to biopsy or remove suspected lesions.
Why a livestream colonoscopy video?
The American Cancer Society says that colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. However, if caught early it often leads to a complete cure. Education and awareness is our goal. Because of awareness, the death rate for colon cancer has dropped in the last 15 years.
If colon cancer is detected early and treated during the earliest possible stage, many patients survive at least 5 years after their diagnosis. If the cancer does not recur within five years, the patient is considered cured.
Stages of colon cancer are:
- 0: Very early. Cancerous cells are usually found on the innermost layer of the intestine.
- I: Cancer is detected in the inner layers of the colon.
- II: Cancer has been found in the colon and its muscle wall.
- III: Cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.
- IV: The cancer has spread to other organs within the body.
Studies suggest that changing your lifestyle and the way you eat is important. Evidence shows that low-fat and high-fiber diets may impact the risk of colon cancer.
For more information:
Meet the Physicians:
Dr. Raman Menon is a surgeon with the Colon and Rectal Clinic within the Swedish Cancer Institute. He specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the colon, rectum and anus. Dr. Menon’s primary interests include colonoscopy, the treatment of hemorrhoids and the minimally invasive surgical techniques for cancer and diverticulitis. He is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and is a member of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons and Northwest Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. Dr. Menon's approach with patients is to put himself in their shoes and treat each person as he would want to be treated. He strives to be reassuring, to let his patients know they are not alone, and that he is there to help at every step of their treatment.
Dr. Nicholas Procaccini is a gastroentologist at Swedish. Dr. Procaccini is a specialist in the digestive system as well as the liver. He specializes in endoscopy, acute and chronic liver disease and inflammatory bowel disease. Dr. Procaccini views his interaction with patients as a dialogue. When patients come to see Dr. Procaccini he relies on them to tell him what they are looking for, and he can mesh the treatment program based on what they tell him. At Swedish, Dr. Procaccini aims to provide the best quality comprehensive care in a patient friendly environment.
Most people say the prep for the colonoscopy is the worst part - here's Dr. Kratz's experience when preparing for his first colonoscopy: