Adjusting to Frequent Colonoscopies

I have Lynch syndrome and a strong family history of early onset colon cancer. Therefore, I must have annual colonoscopies. After my brother died at the age of 36 from colon cancer, I gladly began having colonoscopies every couple of years – way before I even knew I had Lynch syndrome. Just last month I had my 14th colonoscopy and had my first tiny, benign, flat polyp removed. Colon cancer is one of the most preventable cancers – it usually begins in the form of a polyp and these polyps can often be removed during a colonoscopy.

I am very grateful to know I have Lynch syndrome and can take preventive strikes to maintain my health. Having a thorough, annual colonoscopy is one of the simplest things I can do to minimize my chances of developing colon cancer. I have an opportunity that my oldest brother did not have. He did not have the knowledge of knowing he had Lynch syndrome, so he did not have the luxury of being able to undergo measures to reduce his cancer risks. I cannot and will not allow his death to be in vain, so I gladly undergo colonoscopies and other screening. I have been afforded an opportunity that he never had.

The most challenging aspect of undergoing a colonoscopy for most people is not the actual procedure itself, but rather the prep required for it. In honor of my brother, I have a little tradition of drinking the colon prep from a martini glass. I always toast him with a “Bottoms up!” and gladly drink it. The prep does a stellar job of making sure your colon is cleaned out. I have tried every prep out there and I do have a personal favorite, which I have found to be far more tolerable than other preps I have used in the past. Its taste is comparable to Tang – it’s orange flavored, and you do not need to drink an obscene amount of it for the desired effects. Feel free to reach out to me, if you are interested in learning more.

Here are 5 tips from my personal experience:

  1. Once you start the prep, you need to stay close to a bathroom.
  2. The less I eat a few days before my prep, the better off I am when I do the prep. 
  3. Ask your doctor for tips about how to avoid getting dehydrated from the prep, which could make you feel tired or nauseous. For me personally, I have vegetable broth with a little extra salt.
  4. Try to schedule your colonoscopy for first thing in the morning – I always want to get it over with as soon as possible.
  5. It is understandable if you are a little nervous or concerned with the placement of the scope. This is normal; but in my experience, with sedation, you shouldn’t feel a thing. I have always been sedated for my scopes, and I have never had any issues and have no recollection of them whatsoever.

Also, you may hear that there are now alternatives to the traditional colonoscopy, but these options are likely not appropriate for those of us with hereditary cancer syndromes – we still need to have a colonoscopy. Talk to your doctors to figure out the best screening plan for you.

Please feel free to reach out to me by clicking here at if you have any questions or concerns about your colonoscopy. I would be more than happy to talk with you.  

Yours,

Georgia Hurst, MA

Founder and Executive Director of the Nonprofit: ihavelynchsyndrome.com



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