Take a Tour of the Colon!

UPMC Susquehanna physician assistant guides us through a colon

by Heather Weiner – March 28, 2017

Since 1969, colonoscopies have been performed to detect and prevent cancer in the colon.

In today’s follow-up to our earlier segment observing National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, Home Page correspondent, Sara Vogt, traveled to the Williamsport Regional Medical Center in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, to learn more about colon health and cancer prevention. There she met with Jonathan Demchak, PA-C of UPMC Susquehanna for an educational tour of a giant colon.

The tour progressed from a clean normal colon to a colon with signs of disease.

The first area of the colon Jonathan shows us is clean, healthy tissue with no signs of polyps or abnormality. He emphasizes the importance of proper preparation for a colonoscopy, as a clean colon, free from any material or debris, is essential for the physician performing the procedure to get a clear view.

The second stop inside the colon reveals polyps, which can be pre-cancerous or benign. When identified early, polyps can be removed to prevent the potential growth of cancer at that site.

The third stop on the tour reveals that, left in place, polyps may develop malignancy, or cancer, which can spread to the rest of the body.

“Colon cancer begins in the colon, but does not always necessarily stay there,” Jonathan points out, “So if you are having any concerning symptoms, any changes in your bowels, any blood in your stool, any weight loss that you can’t explain, any fatigue that you otherwise can’t explain, any abdominal pain that is new to you or abnormal, please speak with you personal physician and if need be, they can give you a referral to a digestive disease center to get a screening colonoscopy and to evaluate those symptoms.”

He also notes that while the general recommendation is to have a colonoscopy at the age of fifty, and then again in ten years if the results are normal, there are circumstances that may alter that recommendation. A patient’s family history, personal health history or ethnic background may lead a physician to recommend screening tests or a colonoscopy more frequently or earlier.

For more information on colonoscopies and digestive health, call UPMC Susquehanna’s general surgery office in Wellsboro at (570) 723-0716 or the Digestive Disease Center in Williamsport at (570) 321-3454, or visit their website listed here.

Videography: Andrew Moore
Video Editing: Andrew Moore
Writing: Heather Weiner, Sara Vogt
Correspondent: Sara Vogt

Produced by Vogt Media
Funded by UPMC Susquehanna

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