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Ask the Expert: Dr. Ryan Chauvin on Colonoscopy

Dr. Ryan Chauvin is a board-certified gastroenterologist, who’s been practicing medicine for 10 years.

While the idea of undergoing a colonoscopy may not inspire immediate feelings of warmth and comfort, it’s an important half-hour you can take to safeguard your health.

Colonoscopies are the best first step toward the prevention of colorectal cancer, which is the third most common cancer in both men and women.

“If you’ve got a colon, you’re at risk,” says Dr. Ryan Chauvin of St. Francis Gastroenterology, an affiliate of West Feliciana Hospital.

Dr. Chauvin is a board-certified gastroenterology specialist and possesses extensive experience with esophageal disorders and gastrointestinal disorders.

He stresses that early detection is key and thankfully, there’s a screening that can do just that. We asked Dr. Chauvin to answer a few questions about this important procedure.

Because of my age I’m due for a colonoscopy and was given a home screening test. What should I do?

Make sure you choose to have a colonoscopy. Colonoscopies have remained the gold standard to detect colon polyps and colon cancer. Various home screening stool tests have significant false positive and false negative rates.

A colonoscopy is the only screening test that detects and more importantly prevents cancer. During this procedure, pre-cancerous polyps can be removed right then. When colon cancer is detected early enough, there is a 90% survival rate. In addition, a positive home screening leads to an automatic follow-up colonoscopy causing the patient to pay more out of pocket.

If I have a family history of colon cancer, what age should I get checked?

Having an immediate family member (mother, brother, sister, or child) with polyps or who is diagnosed with colorectal cancer at 50 or later means you should receive your colonoscopy at age 40.

If one of those immediate family members was diagnosed earlier than age 50, your screening should be performed at 10 years before their diagnosis. Example: if someone is diagnosed at 42 with colon cancer, all family members should get a colonoscopy at age 32.

What is the difference in a screening colonoscopy versus a diagnostic one?

The procedure, prep, and quality for screening colonoscopy and diagnostic are the same. These are often misconstrued as one being more detailed than the other.

To learn more about the services offered at St. Francis Gastroenterology, click here. To schedule an appointment with one of our physicians, call 225-784-3478.

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