Before she embarked on a new exercise program, Mattie Shaw of Long Beach, California wanted to ensure she was in good health. Vanessa Gavin-Headen, MD, a family medicine physician at Kaiser Permanente Long Beach Medical Offices, had ordered a colonoscopy for Mattie when she turned 50 but her patient hadn’t followed up. “It’s important for everyone to have at least one colonoscopy in their life…to see if anything [is] there that shouldn’t be there,” said Dr. Gavin-Headen.
Dr. Gavin-Headen’s reminder prompted Mattie to undergo the procedure. Mattie was surprised to learn that she had colon cancer. “I didn’t want to take the test, but I did anyway and I’m glad I did,” said Shaw. Mattie’s cancer was detected at an early and treatable stage. She underwent a successful surgery and is now cancer free.
Mattie, a member of Kaiser Permanente for more than 30 years, now tells everyone she knows about the importance of getting a colonoscopy at age 50. “You need to go get it done right away,” said Shaw. “We want you to be here, be my friend later, so I stay on ‘em about it.”