Colon Cancer Awareness Month: Early detection key to survival - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Colon Cancer Awareness Month: Early detection key to survival

Released by the Good Shepherd Medical Center:

LONGVIEW, TX—Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Annually, approximately 150,000 new cases of colorectal cancer are diagnosed in the United States and 50,000 people die from the disease. It has been estimated that increased awareness and screening would save at least 30,000 lives each year.

During National Colon Cancer Awareness Month, Good Shepherd is raising awareness of the risk factors and importance of screening colonoscopies to diagnose the disease in its earliest stages. Getting regular checkups and a colon cancer screening is one of the best ways to prevent colorectal cancer.

"Finding and removing colon polyps early helps prevent cancer," states Bill Torres, MD, gastroenterologist. "In addition, colon cancer screening helps find cancer early, making a cure more likely."

The new screening guidelines published by the American Cancer Society call for adults age 50 and older who have no significant risk factors for colorectal cancer to have either a colonoscopy every 10 years or one of the following procedures once every five years: flexible sigmoidoscopy (to examine the lower part of the intestines) or a double contrast barium enema.

Individuals with the following risks should begin colon screening before age 50, according to the American Cancer Society:

More aggressive screening is recommended if you or anyone in your family has had:

  • Colorectal cancer before age 50
  • Endometrial (uterine) cancer before age 50
  • Cancer of the stomach, kidney, urinary tract or brain
  • A genetic mutation associated with colorectal cancer

No matter your age, if you have any symptoms, such as rectal bleeding or a change in bowel or bladder habits, see your physician. "Many people develop colorectal cancer even though they have no risk factors," said Torres. "But if found in early stages, many times it can be cured."

If you or your family member is over 50 years of age and you have not yet had a screening colonoscopy or you meet any of the risk factor categories, call the Good Shepherd Ambulatory Surgery Center at (903) 315-5333 to find out how to schedule this important test.

For answers to additional health care questions or for physician referral, call Good Shepherd's Healthy Hotline at (903)315-4747 or toll free (877)784-4747.

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