NEWBERRY — Since March is National Colorectal Cancer month, colon health was discussed at the Monday meeting of the Newberry Business Alliance.
Dr. Devonne Barrineau from Newberry County Memorial Hospital and Kathy Stroud came to the Alliance meeting to speak to everyone about the importance of screening.
“It is very important to follow up on these things,” said Stroud, a registered nurse, “For yourself and for your family.”
Barrineau emphasized the importance of screening since there is no cure.
“Colon cancer is preventable,” said Barrineau. “It’s important to have a colonoscopy. There’s progress we can map out. The purpose is to remove the polyp that causes cancer so right now we are focusing on the small, abnormal polyp.”
Barrineau gave the following statistics:
• It’s the third most common cancer in men and women.
• It’s second behind lung cancer.
• One in 20 individuals are at a lifetime risk.
• It’s such an easy test to be screened for.
While Barrineau pointed out that risk factors depends on the individual person and family history, on average, the risk factor begins at age 50 which is when people should have their first colonoscopy.
However, for blacks, the risk factor starts earlier at age 45, he emphasized.
“If you have a family history, start at age 40 or at the age the family member was diagnosed,” said Barrineau.
Those with inflammatory bowel disease are at a significantly higher risk, he pointed out.
Barrineau mentioned the five screenings for colon cancer that include double contrast barium enema, flexible sigmoidoscopy, CT colonoscopy or virtual colon and colonoscopy.
The colonoscopy is the ideal screening tool because it’s highly sensitive and specific, he said.
Sedation is needed with the colonoscopy and there is a risk of perforation and bleeding but Barrineau said that risk starts at 1 in 1,000.
The other screenings are less costly but if there is any abnormal finding with the other three, then a colonoscopy is required.
Aside from the screenings, there is the preparation.
“The prep process is the single most important thing you can do,” said Barrineau who said there are various preparations out there.
However, Barrineau and the other doctors at Newberry Hospital use four tablets and a 64-ounce Gatorade and an over-the-counter laxative. Then the patient must drink for less than 48 hours.
There are three medical doctors — including Barrineau — who can perform the colonoscopy. Barrineau said those wanting to be screened should just tell their doctor.
“If your physician doesn’t bring it up, you need to bring it up,” he said.
Stroud also recommended being off work while preparing for the colonoscopy and some might want to take a half day off before as well. Those having a colonoscopy are not allowed to drive and should not drink alcohol.
“We are looking for something as small as the tip of the pencil, that’s why the preparation is so important,” said Stroud.
The next meeting of the Newberry Business Alliance is 5:30 p.m. May 20 at the West Electrical conference room on Wilson Road. For more information about the alliance, visit www.newberrybusinessalliance.org.