Life-saving colonoscopies are worth discomfort

August 4, 2015 | Events, Medicine and Life Sciences, UTMC
By Brandi Barhite

Many people dread getting a colonoscopy. They avoid it. They put it off. They say, “Maybe next year.”



Dr. Arun Baskara, UT assistant professor of surgery, tried to persuade those people that avoiding a colonoscopy could be a bad idea when he talked about colon cancer earlier this month in the Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center.

The lecture was part of the Tie One On Awareness Lecture Series hosted by UT Health’s Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center.

“Prevention is better than trying to treat colon cancer,” he said. “People should get their colonoscopy at age 50 if they don’t have any family history. If colon cancer runs in the family, the screening may change based on what age the family member had colon cancer.

“I want to create an awareness in the community about colon cancer,” Baskara said. “It is common cancer that we come across in the community. If we can catch it at an early stage, the prognosis is good.”

Baskara understands that people can be scared or possibly embarrassed about getting a colonoscopy, so he talks to his patients about the fear and reassures them about the procedure.

“I make sure that my patients are asleep so they don’t feel or remember anything,”
he said.

But the benefits of a colonoscopy should outweigh any trepidation on the patient’s part, he said.

“Certain cancers behave in a certain way, whether it is in the right side of the colon or left side of the colon,” Baskara said. “Some patients will have symptoms early; some patients won’t have any symptoms at all until the cancer grows larger. The colonoscopy will help because cancer doesn’t happen just like that. It starts as a polyp and then it can change into cancer. If we start picking it up at the polyp stage, we can prevent it from advancing to the cancer stage.”

The free, public Tie One On Cancer Awareness Lecture Series will continue this summer and fall. Upcoming Thursday lectures will be:

• Aug. 20 — Dr. Krishna Reddy, UT assistant professor of radiation oncology, will discuss radiation oncology as a cancer treatment option.

• Sept. 17 — Dr. Samay Jain, UT assistant professor and chief of the Division of Urologic Oncology, will discuss prostate cancer.

• Oct. 15 — Dr. Iman Mohamed, UT professor and chief of the Division of Hematology and Oncology, will discuss lymphedema.

Each person who attends the lecture will be entered into a drawing for tickets to an upcoming sporting event or a gift certificate for spa services.

To reserve a spot, email

Click to access the login or register cheese