In early September 2022, actor Ryan Reynolds and his business partner allowed a video crew to document his colonoscopy to raise awareness of colon cancer. During the procedure, a small polyp was found in the actor’s colon. With proper preparation for the procedure, Reynolds and his business partner were able to do just that in a small polyp that can be life-threatening is removed.

OhioHealth Colorectal Surgery Specialist, Bruce Kerner, MDtold NBC4, “Colonoscopy is the gold standard for detecting colorectal neoplasia and reducing the incidence of rectal cancer, and by doing it, you increase survival,”

Colorectal cancer is one of the few cancers that can be prevented through regular screening. Colorectal cancer is one of the most common types of cancer diagnosed and treated at OhioHealth.

Reynolds’ age 45 is the age at which regular screenings are recommended for people at average risk.

“National guidelines start at 45. It used to be 50 for a number of years, and it’s dropped to 45 because there’s a greater increase in colorectal cancer in younger people,” explained Dr. Kerner.

However, the list of symptoms and tendencies that exclude people from the “medium risk” category is extensive:

  • A personal history of colorectal cancer or certain types of polyps
  • Colorectal cancer in the family
  • Personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease)
  • Confirmed or suspected hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome, such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or Lynch syndrome (hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer or HNPCC)
  • A personal history of radiation to the abdomen (abdomen) or pelvic area for the treatment of previous cancer
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Change in bowel habits
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weight loss

Dr. Kerner tells NBC4 that the frequency of colonoscopies compared to other cancer screenings is low, mainly because of the bowel preparation that must be done the night before the procedure.

“The age and number of people who should be screened for breast cancer is above the 90th percentile,” he said. “If you look at colorectal cancer screening, it’s much lower. In the best cases, it’s somewhere between 35 and 40 percent.”

But “it’s just one day in your life, and if you’ve had a routine screening colonoscopy, you won’t need another exam for 10 years,” Dr. Kerner added.

To learn more about colorectal cancer and screening options at OhioHealth, click here.

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