March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
Colorectal cancer affects both men and women of all racial and ethnic groups equally and happens to be the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. More than 50,000 people lose their lives each year due to this fatal disease. It is commonly found in people 50 years or older but is recently becoming apparent in younger individuals.
What is Colorectal Cancer?
Colorectal cancer refers to cancer in the colon and/or the rectum. The colon is part of the large intestine or large bowel while the rectum is the passageway that connects the colon to the anus. This type of cancer typically develops first in the form of a polyp(s) in the colon/rectum area(s). These abnormal growths on the lining of the colon may later become cancerous if not removed. The ability to remove them when found makes colorectal cancer treatable when discovered early.
Colorectal Cancer Screening
Colorectal screening options can save lives. The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that people start regular screenings at the age of 45 if they are at average risk meaning that they do not have a family history or personal history of colorectal cancer. Several screening methods are available which make this deadly disease entirely preventable.
The best options for colorectal screening are stool-based tests or visual (structural) exams of the colon and rectum. The most popular screening is a colonoscopy (KO-lun-AH-skuh-pee). This visual test searches for polyps and any other abnormalities. A gastroenterologist performs the procedure by using a thin, flexible, hollow, lighted tube, called a colonoscope, which has a tiny video camera on the end. The four-foot-long tube is gently placed up inside the colon through the anus and sends images to a television monitor while the patient is sedated.
A screening is the number one way one can prevent colon and rectal cancer. Our qualified medical team of professionals will make the appropriate recommendation based on each individual.