Colonoscopy, a preventive screening test for colon cancer, is still a source of fear and shame. Health care providers are taking a variety of measures to encourage patients to get tested. Fairy-tale characters are even used for this purpose.
Colonoscopy is used for more than just monitoring the lower digestive tract. During the examination, colon polyps can be removed immediately and cancer will never appear. However, most patients are intimidated by the prospect of a rectal examination. It is also associated with shame.
How do healthcare providers encourage free colonoscopies?
The test can be taken free of charge in more than 70 institutions across the country., as part of a screening program. Despite numerous appeals in the national and local media, as well as on social networks, some patients at risk are afraid of colonoscopy. Therefore, institutions use a variety of methods to encourage patients to get tested. An example is the Hospital of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Wolomin, which encourages prevention under the slogan: “If you remember this from your childhood, now is the time to schedule a colonoscopy.”. And on the poster is the character Mole from a popular fairy tale from the times of the Polish People’s Republic. There is a meme circulating on the Internet with the same text, but in the picture there is a Teddy bear instead of a Mole. Some hospitals print this poster and post it on their notice boards.
The University Teaching Hospital in Poznań chose an interesting way to promote the research by publishing a poster on social networks with the slogan: “Sometimes taking care of your health has to start from being an asshole.”
What are the indications for colonoscopy?
Colonoscopies can now be carried out free of charge as part of a screening program funded by the National Health Trust. All you need to do is register with the institution running the program; no referral is required. Condition – age criterion. This group includes:
people from 50 to 65 years old,
people aged 40 to 49 years if their immediate family members have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
Why is a colonoscopy so important?
Every year about 18,000 people in Poland suffer from colon cancer. Most diseases could be avoided if patients took preventive tests. Bowel cancer develops from benign growths, so-called polyps. This transformation usually takes several years. Thanks to preventive examinations and removal of polyps, you can significantly reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer, as well as effectively treat existing, asymptomatic cancer in the early stages of the disease.
Does a colonoscopy really hurt?
During the examination, the specialist looks at the intestines from the inside. The examination takes about 30 minutes. The doctor uses a soft, flexible tube called a colonoscope. The scary thing is that the instrument is inserted through the anus. Most patients say that “the examination is unpleasant, but tolerable.” Despite this, some people are afraid of colonoscopy. But there is a solution – you can use anesthesia.
Who is a colonoscopy with anesthesia indicated for?
Depending on the medical indications, the examination can be carried out under local anesthesia – using an anesthetic gel or under general anesthesia, so the patient does not experience any discomfort. The patient will not have to pay for anesthesia, provided that the study is carried out in one of the 72 institutions implementing the Ministry of Health program for colorectal cancer screening.
Anesthesia may benefit:
people after major abdominal operations, especially gynecological operations, including caesarean section, and operations resulting from medical complications,
after incomplete or very painful endoscopic examinations of the colon in the past,
people who report to the doctor that they have a strong fear of being examined.
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