senior couple

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month
The prospect of getting cancer strikes fear in the hearts of most people. Yet, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that one third of people age 50 to 75 fail to get a colonoscopy, a screening that test that significantly reduces one’s risk.

In 2016 alone, colorectal cancer is expected to cause about 49,190 deaths in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

“Colonoscopy saves lives in two ways,” says gastroenterologist Dr. Noel Martins of St. Luke’s Gastroenterology Specialists. “First, should cancer be present, colonoscopy helps us to detect the disease in its earliest stages when treatment is more effective.

Second, colonoscopy enables us to identify and remove pre-cancerous growths, called polyps, consequently preventing the cancer from ever developing.” A polyp is a small clump of cells on the inner wall of the colon and rectum commonly found in adults over 50. While most are harmless, some can develop into colon cancer.

During a colonoscopy, a physician uses a thin, flexible tube equipped with a video camera to look into the patient’s colon. The camera projects pictures onto a screen of the inside of the colon and enables the doctor to remove polyps and abnormal growths.

The procedure usually last about 30 minutes and patients usually receive anesthesia. A day or so before the procedure, the patient is provided with very strong laxatives to clean out the colon.

Dr. Daniel Bowers of Eyvazzadeh and Reilly Colon and Rectal Center, adds, “As a colon and rectal surgeon I have witnessed the effectiveness of colonoscopy in reducing the incidence and severity of cancer.

As a result, I am dumbfounded by the fact that so many people avoid having them. If we could persuade more people to get a colonoscopy, just think of the needless suffering we could prevent.”

Dr. Bowers suggests that individuals get a screening colonoscopy every 10 years beginning at age 50. Should polyps be found, colonoscopy should be repeated sooner.

He also recommends the procedure at a younger age, or more frequently, should the patient have:
A personal history of colorectal cancer
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

If you are over 50 and have not had a colonoscopy talk to your family doctor. To schedule a colonoscopy, call St. Luke’s InfoLink toll-free at 1-866-STLUKES (785-8537) or visit www.sluhn.org for more information.

More Health Articles

  • What’s a Geriatric Assessment?

    “The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.” -- Lucille Ball Lucy seldom gave good advice. Each episode when Ricky, Ethel, or Fred took her advice, they...

  • Benefits Of Eating Local Foods

    There are more and more farmers and growers markets in our area. We would do well to take advantage of our locally grown foods. While it is obvious that it helps to eat well and to help our local...

  • Benefits of Playing an Instrument

    Scientists have measured music’s effect on brain activity. While functions like math and reading affect specific parts of the brain, listening to music sets off multiple areas of the brain. But the...

  • Best Tips for Living Healthy

    Today, more than 72,000 Americans have reached the age of 100 and that exclusive club is growing. Between 2000 and 2016, the percentage of centenarians increased by more than 43 percent. Whether you...

  • Caution When Taking OTC Medications

    Over-the-counter medications (OTC’s) are medications that can be obtained without a prescription.  Keep in mind that they are still medications; therefore, they may cause side effects and drug...

  • Center Helps Individuals, Families Living with Dementia

    “It's very clear that people worry about memory loss,” confirms Dr. Catherine Glew with an empathetic look, eyes gazing into the distance and seemingly recalling the hundreds of patients and...

 
Contact Us

Please enter your data here. Fields with an asterisk (*) are required.
Please provide us with a phone number or email so we may respond to your request.
Full Name (*)

Please type your full name.
E-mail

Invalid email address.
Phone

Invalid Input- please enter in form: 123-456-7890
How may we be of service? (*)

Please tell us how big is your company.
Please enter the characters shown. (*)
Please enter the characters shown.
Refresh
Invalid Input