There have been many tragedies rising from the pandemic over the past year. Our lives have been changed in so many ways over the past twelve months…some changes are immediately apparent and some we are just beginning to understand.
I was recently speaking with our chief of gastroenterology, Dr. Brian Clark, who explained one of the less-discussed, but serious consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. While we were all quarantining ourselves, millions of Americans were canceling or postponing important health screenings out of fear of contracting COVID-19 in a hospital setting. This fear was misplaced, as hospitals have enforced infection control guidelines to protect patients from this risk. The reality is that postponing these screenings, such as mammograms and colonoscopies, has led to the discovery of larger, more advanced cancers much later than they would have if regular screening appointments had not been delayed.
Dr. Clark addressed these concerns, as well as the safety protocols adopted at MelroseWakefield Hospital during the pandemic in this video.
Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths, resulting in over 900,000 deaths worldwide each year, with more than 53,000 deaths related to the disease expected to occur in the US in 2021. The irony is that colon cancer is preventable, detectable and treatable.
According to Dr. Clark, many of these cases could have been prevented with the help of our most valuable tool in the fight and prevention of colon cancer – colonoscopy. “By increasing the number of people who come in for colonoscopies, we’ll reduce the number of people dying from colon cancer – it’s that simple,” he said.
I understand that some people are hesitant about having a colonoscopy for a number of reasons…they think it will be uncomfortable or they have heard bad things about the preparation and the drinks you need to take prior to the actual test.
I can assure you that our staff are here to make your colonoscopy as simple and easy as possible…in fact, we have a saying here, that we make it colonoscopeasy!™ We have specially trained navigators to talk to you and make things simple, including making adjustments to the prep.
If you are 50 years old, or have been recommended for a colonoscopy by your doctor, I urge you to take the 20 minutes to listen to this informative episode of our Healthy Podcast with Dr. Clark and patient navigator Melissa Soto.
To schedule your colonoscopy or to speak with a patient navigator to address any concerns, please call 781-213-5212.