'Hey, Lee, I watched your colonoscopy on my phone the other day'


These days it's rare to find something that hasn't already been shared on social media.

But Lee Aase had something he knew nobody had seen before: his colonoscopy.

Aase, who is the social media director for Mayo Clinic, got Colon Cancer Awareness Month off to a good start by having his procedure streamed live on Periscope Tuesday. (Periscope is a video streaming app owned by Twitter.)

Aase knew the mobile app could be used to show viewers an entire medical procedure from start to finish – and with Mayo a partner in the "Fight Colorectal Cancer" project, he decided a colonoscopy would be a good choice.

But as he started looking for patients, something gave him pause: “If I wasn’t willing to do it myself on Periscope, I didn’t have any business asking someone else,” Aase told STAT.


Mayo and Aase used Twitter to promote the livestream in advance and he blogged about the preparation.


The procedure lasted about an hour-and-a-half and both the colonoscopy and its broadcast went without a hitch.

Naturally, there was also a video crew documenting the video documentation of the event so it could be posted to Facebook and YouTube.


STAT reports there were two doctors on hand for Aase's colonoscopy. One performed the procedure while the other narrated it for the viewing audience.

Aase said he hopes the chance to see an actual colonoscopy will help alleviate fears that some people may have about them and encourage them to get screened, Ragan's Health Care Communications says.

Half of colon cancer deaths could be prevented

The American Cancer Society recommends that everyone 50 and older be screened but reports that only one-third of those who should get a colonoscopy actually do so.

Screening can detect colon cancer before symptoms develop. Also, polyps can be removed during a colonoscopy before they have the chance to become cancerous.

ABC 6 News reports cancer of the colon is the most treatable form of cancer but is also the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S.

The Cancer Society expects 50,000 Americans will die from colon cancer this year and says half of the deaths could be prevented with regular testing.

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