SAN ANTONIO -

It may be perhaps an unromantic notion on Valentine’s Day, but gastroenterologists insist that loving your colon could be the perfect gift to your loved ones.

Keep in mind, their type of love involves a colonoscopy -- an invasive procedure that few want to discuss in detail but one that could save your life.

Valerie Rubalcaba can attest to the lifesaving properties of colon care. She has a history of cancer in her family, so she underwent a colonoscopy at age 32. Minutes after it was over, her doctor informed her that she had a tumor and it was stage 1 colorectal cancer.

“I was shocked, but the doctor removed 4 inches of intestine and took out all the cancer,” Rubalcaba said.

It’s an example of preventative measures saving her life. She now gets a colonoscopy every year.

At Gastroenterology Consultants of San Antonio, the first female gastroenterologist has begun her practice, to cheers from women like Rubalcaba. Dr. Zarema Singson says women don’t tend to think about the care of their colon but rather concentrate on Ob-Gyn issues.

"The procedures that we do are invasive and very personal locations, so I think that women feel more comfortable talking to another woman,” said Singson.

She says more Ob-Gyn practitioners are paying closer attention to the rectum, and as a result the word is getting out to women that they too could benefit.

"Colonoscopies can actually prevent colon cancer. We see a little poly or an abnormal growth; if we remove it, it will not become cancer, so we can prevent colon cancer from happening," said Singson.

The risk for those under the age of 40 may largely depend on family history. Some 90 percent of colon cancers are detected in patients 50 and older.

For more on the risks and the procedures available, visit gastroconsa.com and patients.gi.org.