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Making a difference through making women's health comfortable

CBS 21

March is Colon Cancer Awareness month, but for anyone who has ever had a colonoscopy, the word "comfort" usually isn't associated with the process.

For some women, if the man is the doctor, the comfort level drops even more.

For that reason is why a local gastroenterology practice is catering to women to try and make a difference with the potentially life-saving procedure.

Deb Myers, of Hummelstown, Dauphin County, doesn't get many moments of peace when she's with her 10 grandchildren, but after getting a colonoscopy last year, she has peace of mind and no polyps.

That peace of mind, however, almost didn't happen because for the past 10 years, Myers, who just turned 60, avoided getting a colonoscopy because she's not comfortable with a man performing the procedure.

"I was just very uncomfortable with the idea and just knowing it was all women, I was very comfortable with that," Myers said, referring to the all-women endoscopy day at Jackson Siegelbaum Gastroenterology.

Jackson Siegelbaum offers an all-women team, from the doctor to the anesthesia and nursing staff, who will perform the exam.

Myers actually learned about the special day from one of the men in her life.

"My son's the one who came here and he came home with the paper and showed me. He said, 'Mom, it's an all-women's day,' cause he knew the girls were all after me for years," Myers said.

With one in 23 women developing colon cancer over their lifetime, Dr. Lindsey Surace, with Jackson Siegelbaum, said she doesn't want any woman, for any reason, to not get a colonoscopy when recommended.

For the patients who don't feel comfortable with certain aspects of the procedure itself, regardless of who performs it, there are ways to adjust the prep and the sedation, as well as alternative options for testing, albeit they are less ideal than having an actual colonoscopy.

"That helps guide people if they're very, very nervous. A lot of times people would be willing to check a stool test and if that's positive, that's really somebody you want to get in. So, having that conversation about what other options there are, I can differentiate who's at higher risk or not - even doing that is doing something," Surace said.

For Myers, she said her daughters are going to get a colonoscopy when it's time, and even her 80-year-old mother said she might get one, too, after all these years. It would be her first.

For more on all women's day, visit Jackson Siegelbaum's website.

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