Good News About Colorectal CancerLast updated: Mar 09, 2016
Colorectal cancer is the third most common form of cancer in America today. The good news: it’s one of the most preventable. According to the American Cancer Society, although the disease is relatively easy to prevent, there are still almost 135,000 new cases of colorectal cancer in the U.S. each year.
On the front lines of fighting colorectal cancer is Roger S. Klein, MD, FACP, Summit Medical Group gastroenterologist. Dr. Klein believes that many people get in their own way when it comes to preventing the disease. It’s not necessarily the procedure that bothers most people, it’s preparing for it. “A big block (in getting people to have the exam) is the prep, involving a clear liquid diet a day before the procedure, with the outcome being diarrhea which upsets or discourages people,” Dr. Klein notes before adding, “but it’s a minor nuisance in the scheme of things to prevent colon cancer.”
To hear an interview on Colorectal Cancer Prevention Tips with Dr. Roger S. Klein on SMG Radio click play.
During the procedure, known as a colonoscopy, a gastroenterologist will typically look for polyps, which are small clumps of cells on the lining of the colon and are benign precursors for cancer. Left unchecked, over time polyps may develop into cancer and can often be fatal if found in later stages. That’s why early detection is so important. Regular checkups and having polyps removed can prevent a large majority of colon cancer.
If you’re wondering when you should start getting screened, Dr. Klein explains that “if there is no family history or high risk factors, screening typically starts at age 50,” with subsequent checkups every ten years. African-Americans, however, and patients with a family history of colon cancer may be at higher risk and should start screening at 45 years of age, possibly earlier, depending on the family history.
Polyps found during routine checkups usually affect the frequency for follow-up colonoscopies depending on the number and size of the polyps. Particularly large polyps that need to be removed in pieces may require you to return for a follow up exam as soon as six months to a year later, but most of the time polyp discovery will usually require you to come back three to five years later.
In addition to preventive screenings, “it’s important to lead a healthy lifestyle,” says Dr. Klein. Environmental risk factors can certainly play a role in colon cancer, so a healthy diet with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and high fiber is recommended. Complete your preventive measures by limiting consumption of red meat, processed meat, and alcohol.
Colorectal cancer prevention can be easy. For better health and peace of mind, make an appointment for your colorectal screening procedure today.
For more information or to schedule an appointment for an examination and screening,
please call Summit Medical Group Gastroenterology
Summit Medical Group Colorectal Surgery
treats a variety of illnesses and injuries of the colon, rectum, and anus.
For more information or an appointment, please call 980-277-8950.