Colon Cancer Screening
Colorectal cancer is a common medical problem in the United States, with approximately 150,000 new cases diagnosed each year, and is responsible for about 50,000 deaths each year. This happens despite the fact that colorectal cancer is not only curable with early diagnosis but is also preventable through the detection and removal of precancerous colon polyps.
Screening saves lives. Unfortunately, colorectal cancers often do not cause symptoms until they are advanced and hard to treat. Screening can save lives by detecting the cancers at earlier stages when the cancers are still treatable. When the cancer is detected early, the cure rate exceeds 90%.
Most colorectal cancers start out as small growths called “adenomatous polyps.” These polyps can grow over a period of several years before some of them eventually turn into cancer. A screening colonoscopy can identify these polyps and remove them before they turn into cancer.
There is extensive evidence that colorectal cancer screening can save lives, and screening is endorsed unanimously by medical societies, including the American Cancer Society. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that the incidence and mortality of colorectal cancer has been slowly declining in the United States over the past decade. Most experts believe that this is the result of increased screening. Unfortunately, our tri-state area has one of the lowest screening rates in the United States, and, as a consequence, the incidence of colorectal cancer and the mortality rate are among the highest in the nation.
Who should be screened?
Average-risk individuals need to start screening at the age of 45 years.
If you have a close relative with colorectal cancer or polyps or you suffer from inflammatory bowel disease, your risk for colorectal cancer may be higher than average, and you may need to start screening earlier. Make sure to speak to your doctor or to contact us if you think you are at a higher risk.
Why colonoscopy for screening?
There are many tests available for colorectal cancer screening. The tests include fecal occult testing, flexible sigmoidoscopy, barium enema, stool DNA testing, virtual colonoscopy and colonoscopy. The American College of Gastroenterology states that a quality colonoscopy is the preferred strategy for colorectal cancer screening. This is based on the rationale that colonoscopy is the most effective test for detection and removal of colon polyps.
Why choose Gastro One?
All of our physicians are fellowship-trained in gastroenterology and are experts at the performance of colonoscopy and polypectomy. Our out-patient endoscopy centers are equipped with state-of-the-art technology, including high-definition, wide-angle magnifying colonoscopes and high-definition screens. Coupled with our training and expertise, these technological advances ensure that the colonoscopy is performed at the highest possible standards.
As a matter of fact, our data shows that our doctors exceed colonoscopy performance benchmarks. In our screening program, 28% of the patients have had at least one precancerous polyp removed and about one in 200 is diagnosed with colon cancer, usually still at an early stage. Our center also provides anesthesia services to ensure that the colonoscopy is performed in a comfortable setting.
Gastro One also has developed an open access screening program that bypasses the preliminary office visit for a discussion of colorectal cancer screening. You may be eligible for this program if you do not have any current symptoms such as blood loss or change in bowel habits and if your primary care physician refers you for screening. For more information on our colorectal cancer Open Access screening program, please contact us at 901.522.6630 or [email protected].
Colon cancer screening is very important to gastroenterologists. At Gastro One, we perform colonoscopy, which is the gold standard for colon cancer screening. Our open access program has been utilized by thousands of healthy patients whose primary physicians have recommended that they have a colonoscopy. Of these patients, 28% has precancerous polyps and about one in 200 has colon cancer. Colonoscopy for colon cancer screening is a recommended procedure by the American Cancer Society for Caucasian individuals of average risk who are over 50 and African-Americans over age 45. If you are at increased risk because of race or family history, a colonoscopy may be recommended at an earlier age.