Early detection of colorectal cancer saves lives
Colonoscopy and other screenings to detect cancer in the colon or rectum are in the spotlight in March during National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.
Among colorectal screenings, colonoscopy is considered the gold standard for cancer prevention. It’s the only test that allows doctors to find and remove polyps during the same exam. That means they can remove abnormal tissue in the colorectal area before it grows into cancer.
"This national awareness movement gives us a chance to remind everyone in our community that preventive screenings like colonoscopy save lives,” said Randy Christophel, Goshen Health President and Chief Executive Officer. “No other screening is as effective as colonoscopy to detect cancer inside the body.”
Most doctors recommend adults get their first colonoscopy at age 45 if they are at average risk for colorectal cancer. With a clean result – meaning no signs of polyps or abnormal tissue – a person can wait 10 years for the next colonoscopy.
Take-home test kits are another option to check for colorectal cancer. The test looks for hidden blood in the stool that can signal a problem. However, stool tests are not considered a preventive screening like colonoscopy. Stool tests are detection tests and need to be repeated every year.
Excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in the U.S. The lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is about 1 in 23 for men and 1 in 26 for women.
For a free colorectal health risk assessment, visit ShareAStool.com.