Easing the prep for colon cancer screening

March 30, 2012 3:04:46 PM PDT
Colon cancer is one of just a few cancers that can be prevented with screening, but about 40 percent of people who should be getting a colonoscopy are not.

So, Dr. David Kastenberg of Jefferson University Hospital has come up with a way to hopefully change that.

"A lot of doctors make it a very laborious process where people are taking a special diet for many days and then the prep is dragged out over a long period of time and, I thought, 'Let's see if we can do everything in one day," said Dr. Kastenberg.

So, in order to do that, patients wake up early. 56-year-old Bob Fendt, who has a family history of colon cancer, went through the procedure. He took his first dose of prep at 5:30 in the morning and his second and final dose a few hours later.

The traditional way has patients drinking prep for several hours the night before.

"So, by doing it in the morning in the split dose, it was a little easier," Bob said.

After the prep, Bob had his procedure around noon the same day.

Dr. Kastenberg says the one-day colonoscopy prep is just as effective as the traditional way. He hopes it'll help more people get screened for colon cancer.

"It's a very preventable disease, it's a common disease. One out of every 18 average people, with no family history, are going to get colon cancer so it's really important to get screened," Dr. Kastenberg said.

This new way is not for everyone. If you are diabetic and need to watch your blood sugar level, then it is best to do the prep the day before and have the colonoscopy first thing in the morning.

Still, with both methods, you will have to fast for some time before the procedure.