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Early colonoscopy pays off for local man

"It's just basically 12 to 14 hours of prep work and then you're in and out, but the benefits far outweigh anything that would be involved in the prep," said patient Robbie Ryerse. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

"Hey Robbie, how did you do with your colon prep?"

That's a question no one really wants to answer, especially men, who tend to be more reluctant to get colonoscopies in Mitchell County.

"We do probably see more women than men, but the men that come are usually encouraged by their spouses," explained Celena Garrett, an RN at the Phillips Center at Blue Ridge Regional Hospital in Spruce Pine.

"It's just basically 12 to 14 hours of prep work and then you're in and out, but the benefits far outweigh anything that would be involved in the prep," said patient Robbie Ryerse.

"Anybody of advanced age would be a colon cancer risk," Garrett continued. "That's one reason we start at age 50."

Ryerse, though, started five years early because of an intestinal infection and a family history of colon cancer.

"I remember being wheeled into the room and turned on my side, and the next thing I woke up and everything was over with," he recalled.

But not before he had one polyp removed during his procedure.

Experts say that early detection is key to preventing a bigger problem later on.

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