St. Joseph Improves the Colonoscopy Experience

May 19th, 2015

St Joseph Memorial Hospital staff just made the world of endoscopy, such as colonoscopy, a little more comfortable. A recent expansion/remodeling project was completed this March just as the United States recognized colon cancer awareness month.

Endoscopy is the process of using specialized scopes with cameras to enter the mouth or the rectum to evaluate the digestive tract. If they find polyps (growths that can turn into cancer), they are usually removed on the spot.

The unit at St. Joseph is already recognized for their excellence in quality by the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. The expansion to four endoscopy suites is an answer to the nationwide efforts spreading awareness of colon cancer prevention. It also provides more access to care as physicians are tasked to control population health.

Colorectal cancer continues to be the third most diagnosed cancer in Illinois. As a nation, we are starting to make a difference. Southern Illinois Healthcare facilities have seen an 18 percent increase in studies over the last year.

Generally not a test that people look forward to, but most people are surprised that it’s usually not as bad as they imagined. “It’s awesome to be able to identify a treatable condition before it turns deadly. It also gives folks peace of mind when they have a negative screening,” said Fred Hall, St. Joseph Memorial Hospital Surgical Director.

For the test you are given light anesthesia. Most have no recollection the study happened at all. People typically feel they have awakened from a nice nap without a “hungover” feeling.

While often cringing at the idea of the study, most people overlook the amazing benefits. Colorectal cancer is one of the most treatable cancers if you find it early. And if you’re not high risk, unlike other screenings, it’s only an every-10-year screening.

“I have often heard people tell me that they are embarrassed or shy to have a colonoscopy or to discuss it with their doctor,” said Dr. Satyadeep Bhattacharya, colorectal surgeon with SIH Medical Group. “However, I believe that the benefits of screening are so great that we should talk about it as a society and make it common knowledge – so that the average person does not feel awkward any more. Together, we can make a difference.”