Early screening essential to prevention and increasing cure rate
HERMITAGE, Tenn. (March 4, 2015) — March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and colorectal cancer expert Raj Patil, MD, gastroenterologist at TriStar Summit, is speaking out with advice for the community on this potentially life-threatening disease.
"Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, with over 56,000 people expected to die from this disease each year," says Dr. Patil. "However, it is a preventable and very curable disease if caught early." Because there are often no symptoms when it is first developing, according to Dr. Patil, colorectal cancer can only be caught early through regular screening.
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), the possibility of curing patients after symptoms develop is only 50%, but if colorectal cancer is found and treated at an early stage before symptoms develop, the opportunity to cure it is 80% or better. Colon cancers start as non-cancerous growths called polyps. If physicians find these polyps while they are still non-cancerous, they are removed and the cancer may be prevented.
People at average risk
The ACS believes that preventing colorectal cancer should be a major reason for getting tested. Finding and removing polyps keeps some people from getting colorectal cancer. Beginning at age 50, both men and women at average risk for developing colorectal cancer should use one of the screening tests below:
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years
- Colonoscopy every 10 years
- Double-contrast barium enema every 5 years
- CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every 5 years
- Fecal occult blood test every year
- Fecal immunochemical test (FIT) every year
- Stool DNA test
People at increased or high risk
If you are at an increased or high risk of colorectal cancer, the ACS says you should begin colorectal cancer screening before age 50 and/or be screened more often. The following conditions make your risk higher than average:
- A personal history of colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps
- A personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease)
- A strong family history of colorectal cancer or polyps
- A known family history of a hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer (HNPCC)
TriStar Summit has many board certified physicians ready to serve you. If you would like to make an appointment for a colonoscopy, please call TriStar MedLine at (615) 342-1919.