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Jason’s Story: Colorectal Cancer Screening 

Posted in: Patient Stories

As he approached his 45th birthday, Jason wasn’t thinking about his health. Like many people, he believes he lives a relatively healthy lifestyle – he eats healthy, exercises a few times a week, and frequently takes walks with his wife and kids in the evening.

“I never gave much thought to my overall health, other than trying to make healthier choices when it comes to my diet and exercise,” said Jason.

After two people close to him passed away unexpectedly due to health issues, however, Jason realized that undergoing preventive screening is an easy way to make one more healthy choice in life. Knowing that the recommended age for a colonoscopy is 45, Jason reached out to his primary are provider and made an appointment.

“Undergoing a colonoscopy can be an awkward experience between the needed preparation and the parts of you exposed during the procedure,” said Jason. “But as uncomfortable as the thought of it may seem, the benefits far outweigh any temporary discomfort. It is incredible how such a quick and straightforward intervention can bring tremendous peace of mind.”

Although colorectal cancer is quite common in the United States — it’s the second-leading cause of cancer death — the prognosis improves greatly with early detection, said Dr. Thomas H. Riley, service line clinical chief in gastroenterology advanced endoscopy for University of Michigan Health-West.

And the gold standard for screening, the colonoscopy, continues to improve. University of Michigan Health-West uses high-definition cameras and an AI-powered system, GI Genius, to help doctors find and remove even hard-to-detect abnormal growths called polyps.

It’s important for patients to stay on schedule for colorectal screenings, Dr. Thomas said. Even if patients are uncomfortable with the idea of a colonoscopy, other options are available, he said.

“The best screening test is the one that gets done,” he said.

Following the procedure, Jason met with the gastroenterologist to review the results and determine if he needed to undergo further testing.

“I had two polyps identified and safely removed during the procedure and was told that I do not need to undergo another colonoscopy for at least seven years,” said Jason. “I cannot recommend this process enough and want to thank the team at University of Michigan Health-West for a surprisingly smooth and painless procedure.

“I encourage everyone to prioritize their health and consider scheduling a colonoscopy. By committing to this simple yet vital screening, we can potentially safeguard our futures and those we love Let’s spread the word and break the stigma surrounding this crucial examination!”