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Your First Colonoscopy: What You Need to Know

From the Show: Staying Well
Summary: Even if colon cancer doesn't run in your family, it's still important to get a colonoscopy.
Air Date: 5/12/14
Duration: 10
Host: Melanie Cole, MS
Guest Bio: Daniel DeMarco, MD
Daniel Demarco Dan DeMarco was born in Natick, Massachusetts, on 28 September 1956 and grew up in that area. At age 13, his family moved to Dallas, Texas, where he has lived ever since.

He was accepted at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School after three years at the University of Notre Dame. His training in internal medicine and gastroenterology was all at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas (BUMC).

He finished his fellowship in gastroenterology in June 1985 and has been at BUMC ever since. In addition to his extremely busy practice, he participates actively in BUMC's teaching activities and has been twice elected Teacher of the Year.

Not only does he teach the medical residents, but he daily tutors the gastroenterology fellows. He has served as chairman or member of the Institutional Animal Use and Care Committee since 1995, the Liver Transplant Selection Committee since 1987, the Emergency Services Committee since 1992, and the Medical Advisory Committee of BUMC since 1999.

He has published 16 articles in peer-reviewed medical journals or chapters in prominent books.
    Your First Colonoscopy: What You Need to Know
    Have you ever had a colonoscopy?

    If you have, you may dread going back; and if you haven't had one yet, you're holding out for as long as you can.

    It's important not to put it off any longer.

    A colonoscopy allows your doctor to take a look at the inner lining of your large intestine, rectum and colon by using a long, thin, flexible tube. This test helps your doctor discover any ulcers, tumors, inflammation or bleeding.

    The procedure sounds painful, invasive and unnecessary. Why would anyone need this, especially if you have stellar digestive health?

    Before opting out, there are many benefits you need to be aware of.

    Colorectal cancer, also known as colon cancer, is life threatening. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S.

    At what age should you start having routine colonoscopy procedures?

    Even if colon cancer doesn't run in your family, it's still important for both men and women to get a colonoscopy, starting at the age of 45 and with a follow-up every 10 years.

    What do you need to do to prep for a colonoscopy?

    Before your procedure, you need to clear out your colon, which takes one to two days. Unfortunately, you cannot skip this step; without proper preparation, your colonoscopy will not work. This prep involves drink a liquid that loosens your stools and cleans out your system.

    What else do you need to know before your colonoscopy?

    Medical Director of Digestive Disease Technology, Baylor Health Care System, Dr. Daniel DeMarco, shares why it's important to have a colonoscopy, how to prep for the procedure and how often you should be having one.