At Princeton Gastroenterology Associates, most first-time colorectal screening patients report they would have done it sooner had they known the procedure was so simple.

According to Stacey L. McKelvey, M.D., new advances have made the preparation less distasteful and the actual procedure itself painless. In fact, Princeton Gastroenterology Associates’ patients are sedated during the procedure and don’t remember a thing.

"The big complaints were the preparation drink taste and the fear of pain. But the new drink isn’t that bad, the procedure is painless and the same-day recover quick," Dr. McKelvey explained. "It’s so worth it, because colorectal cancer is very curable when caught early."

Statistics indicate nearly every case of sporadic colon cancer could be prevented if every American were to undergo periodic total colonic evaluation starting at age 50. About 5.6 percent of Americans will develop colorectal cancer at some point throughout their lives. When colorectal cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, five-year survival is 90 percent.

"March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Have you thought about colorectal cancer screening? As doctors who treat the disease, we sure have," Dr. McKelvey said. "If you don’t have the screening and you get cancer, you’ll end up with surgery, and after-treatments like chemotherapy and radiation. A simple, one-day screening makes a lot more sense."

Dr. McKelvey started on her path to being a board-certified gastroenterologist and internal medicine specialist when she was very young. A family member died of advanced colorectal cancer because the individual was never screened. She notes it’s not just a men’s illness but an equal opportunity cancer, so it’s important that men and women over 50 seek routine scans.

"We perform the procedure at an outpatient surgery center that’s a joint venture between Princeton Gastroenterology Associates and University Medical Center at Princeton," Dr. McKelvey added. "And, it’s covered by most insurances."

In addition to colon cancer prevention, Princeton Gastroenterology Associates also specializes in general gastroenterology concerns, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, heartburn, Crone’s disease, and liver, gall bladder and pancreas issues.

Princeton Gastroenterology Associates. 281 Witherspoon Street, Suite 230, Princeton. 609-924-1422. Fax: 609-924-7473. www.princetongi.com

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