Dr. Sarkisian talks with KTIV HealthBeat 4 about the benefits of colon cancer and gastrointestinal screenings. He demonstrates with a colon/stomach model to show how both procedures are done. 

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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) – More younger adults are developing colorectal cancer – treatable cancer if you know the signs. The preventative screening for colon cancer is a colonoscopy, not something people are rushing to get.

”One test one day, you may, it may save your life, it may find a small polyp or even early cancer that can be treated,” said Dr. Alex Sarkisian, a CNOS gastroenterologist.

Dr. Alex Sarkisian’s job involves a lot of colonoscopies. That is how he knows to calm people about the cancer screening.

“A lot of people wake up from anesthesia feeling like they had a really good nap. And, and are very surprised that they’re not feeling any pain or discomfort in their belly. But you know, we use, we use a certain air that to inflate the colon we use carbon dioxide, rather than just environmental air and that gets absorbed very quickly into the body. And you know, people don’t really have any discomfort after the procedure typically. So it’s a pretty painless procedure and pretty easy. And it usually takes less than 45 minutes to accomplish,” said Dr. Sarkisian.

Dr. Sarkisian showed how he performs the procedure on a model. By inserting the scope into the colon, he looks for abnormalities.

“We can take biopsies and remove polyps but if we find cancer that’s involving most of the wall of the colon in a circular fashion that will usually take biopsies and then tattoo the area and have a surgeon resect the tumor surgically if that is identified, this is something that we can treat right here,” said Dr. Sarkisian.

He prefers to screen for colon cancer with a colonoscopy than other methods.

“The reasons are, you can do a diagnostic and therapeutic procedure. So if you find a polyp during the procedure, polyps are precancerous lesions that can form in the colon, you can cut them out completely during the time of that colonoscopy and effectively prevent the risk of those developing into colon cancer, versus other screening tests where you’re checking the stool for, you know, either blood or DNA or other types of biochemical tests,” said Dr. Sarkisian.

Dr. Sarkisian says if you have abdominal pain, changes to your bowel habits, or blood in your stool, you should call your doctor.

Click here for more information on colon cancer, like who is at risk.