Colorectal Cancer -- Preventable. Treatable. Beatable!
Colorectal Cancer--Preventable! Treatable! Beatable!
We here at Gastroenterology of the Rockies support the efforts of the American Cancer Society and others to raise awareness about colorectal cancer.
While colorectal cancer is the third most common cause of cancer-related death in both men and women in the United States (causing 10 percent of all cancers), it is largely preventable.
The American Cancer Society estimates that this year, 145,290 Americans will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer (commonly referred to as colon cancer) and 56,290 will die of the disease, a number that could be cut in half if Americans followed American Cancer Society testing recommendations for colon cancer.
Many Americans Fail to Get Tested
Schedule an Appointment Today! Despite overwhelming evidence that testing can save lives, many Americans still are not following recommendations from the American Cancer Society to get tested starting at age 50. Colon cancer is the rare cancer in which testing can actually prevent the disease. Suspicious polyps (precancerous changes or growths in the lining of the colon and rectum) are removed before they turn cancerous. Thanks in part to increased testing, colon cancer incidence rates decreased about three percent a year between 1998 and 2001. Increased testing and improvements in survival have also led to a lower death rate, which has decreased an average of 1.8 percent per year over the past 15 years. When colon cancer is caught early, it has a 90 percent survival rate. Still, fewer than 4 in 10 (39 percent) of these cancers are discovered at the earliest, most treatable stage. The American Cancer Society says increasing colon cancer testing among adults 50 and older represents the single greatest opportunity to decrease colon cancer death rates in this country (more than 90 percent of cases are diagnosed in people over the age of 50).
What is colon cancer screening?
The most common and effective test that screens for colon cancer is called a colonoscopy. As described by the American Cancer Society a colonoscopy is an exam that allows a gastroenterologist to see and closely inspect the inside of the entire colon for signs of cancer or polyps. Polyps are small growths that can eventually become cancerous. The doctor uses a slender, flexible, hollow, lighted tube about the thickness of a finger. This "colonoscope" is gently eased inside the colon and has a tiny video camera, which sends pictures to a TV monitor. Small puffs of air are introduced into the colon to keep it open and allow the doctor to see clearly. The exam itself typically takes 15–30 minutes. Patients are usually given medicine to help them relax, which often puts them to sleep during the procedure. Your doctor decides how often you need this test, usually once every 10 years, depending on your personal risk for colon cancer. It's important for people to talk with their doctor to understand their personal risk for getting colon cancer and whether they need to start being tested at age 50 or earlier. We invite you to contact our trained staff right now for further discussion about colon cancer and to schedule an appointment.
You can also call us directly to schedule an appointment at any of our 3 convenient endoscopy centers listed below:
1755 W. 48th St., Suite 100
Boulder, CO 80303
1000 W. South Boulder Rd., Suite 200
Lafayette, CO 80026
1551 Professional Ln., Suite 290
Longmont, CO 80501