Each year, colon cancer kills more Americans than any other form of cancer except lung cancer, and yet, with screening and early detection, it can often be successfully prevented.
In order to raise awareness, during the month of March and throughout the year, Physicians Regional Healthcare System (PRHS) emphasizes the importance of colon cancer screening by the age of 50. Approximately 150,000 Americans are diagnosed with colon cancer each year and an estimated 50,000 are predicted to die from this disease.
Developing in the lower digestive and gastrointestinal system, it is very common in both men and women of all ethnic and racial groups and usually develops from precancerous changes or growths, called polyps, in the lining of the colon and rectum.
“The best form of detection for such polyps is conducted through what is commonly known as a colonoscopy,” said Anthony M. Vernava III, M.D., board certified colorectal surgeon at PRHS. “If a cancerous polyp is detected, and the timing of this detection is early, the polyp can be easily removed with no incision, allowing the patient to return to normal activity in no time.”
According to the American Cancer Society, patients should discuss the risk of colon cancer, as well as early and frequent screening, if they possess any of the following colon cancer risks: a personal history of colon cancer or adenomatous polyps, a personal history of chronic inflammatory bowel disease, a strong family history of colon cancer or polyps, or a known family history of hereditary colon cancer syndromes.
“Early detection is definitely key to the prevention of colon cancer,” said Susan M. Cera, M.D., board certified colorectal surgeon at PRHS. “Colon cancers take many years to develop, but the earlier the cancer is identified, the easier it is to treat with all of the new advancements that have been made toward the treatment of colon cancer.”
For more information on colon cancer screening or treatment, as well as a referral to a colorectal surgeon, call 239-348-4000.