NOTE: The following information was published July 8, 2020. For current COVID-19 information, visit LVHN.org/COVID-19
Have you delayed getting your colonoscopy due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic? If so, don’t wait any longer to schedule this lifesaving screening. Colonoscopies are available, and you’re safe with us at Lehigh Valley Health Network.
A colonoscopy is the most common way to screen for colorectal cancer. “It’s extremely important for people ages 50 through 75 to get screened because colon cancer can be prevented with proper screening,” says Brian Stello, MD, with LVPG Family Medicine.
Keeping you safe
We understand how you may be feeling right now – nervous, concerned or overwhelmed. One thing you shouldn’t have to worry about is getting the health care you need during this pandemic. That’s why LVHN has taken every step to make sure it’s safe to come in for essential screenings, like colonoscopies.
Temperature screenings are performed when you arrive. The procedural suites where colonoscopies are performed receive routine cleanings and sanitation. Like usual, the colonoscope receives a germicidal cleaning after every patient. So, you can rest assured that your room and the colonoscope are safe.
“We’ve already seen that people are missing out on important health care during this pandemic. The consequences are terrible. Those who wait may come in sicker or with later-stage problems that are more difficult to manage, so it’s important to not put off your care,” Stello says.
Preparing for your colonoscopy
Fasting, drinking clear liquids and cleansing your body to prepare for this procedure are probably not what you want to think about right now. “The preparation is what some people find uncomfortable because the day prior you’re not eating regularly, plus you’re cleaning your bowels out which means frequent visits to the bathroom,” Stello says.
But going through some temporary discomfort to check the health of your colon is worth it.
Early detection of abnormalities is essential. That can be accomplished with a colonoscopy. This screening helps identify any precancerous growths (polyps), which allows them to be removed before they turn cancerous. If your colonoscopy shows signs of cancer, our providers will recommend additional testing, treatments and support to get you the care you need in a timely manner.
“We strongly encourage people to consider a colonoscopy as their first choice for colorectal cancer screening,” Stello says. However, if you have an underlying medical condition or prefer a different method of screening, you should speak to your primary care provider about alternative options.
Learn more about colonoscopies and our convenient screening locations by visiting LVHN.org/colonoscopy.