According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among men and women in the United States.
As with many types of cancer, screenings are available to determine if signs of cancer exist. Early detection is often the single most effective means of treating cancer. March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and CHRISTUS Trinity Clinic is encouraging people to get the screenings that could save their lives.
“With a proper screening, colon cancer can be detected before symptoms develop, when it is most curable,” said W. Brent Bennett, M.D., Physician Lead Primary Care, CHRISTUS Trinity Clinic – Texarkana, New Boston and Hope, Arkansas. “Colonoscopies are the most effective screenings allowing for examination of the entire colon.”
A colonoscopy is an internal examination of the large intestine and rectum which a small camera attached to a flexible tube. As the scope is moved around, tissue samples may be taken with tiny biopsy forceps inserted through the scope. Polyps may be removed, and photographs may be taken. Nearly all colon cancers begin as noncancerous (benign) polyps, which slowly develop into cancer.
“Don’t Assume” is the Colorectal Cancer Alliance’s 2019 National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month public awareness campaign.
“The idea is really based around taking the appropriate steps to protect your health,” explained Dr. Bennett. “Don’t assume you’re too young for colorectal cancer. Don’t assume you’re alone. As the campaign says, ‘When people stop assuming, they get screened, they reach out for support, they pay attention to their symptoms and they advocate for their health.’ That is precisely what can make a life-saving difference to patients.”
Colon cancer can affect anyone – both men and women – and risk increases with age. Some people are at greater risk than others.
Some Risk Factors Include:
• 50 years of age or older
• African-American or of eastern European descent
• Have had cancer elsewhere
• A family history of colon cancer or colon polyps
For more information about the importance of colonoscopies and how to arrange a colonoscopy or to schedule an appointment, contact your primary care physician’s office or a gastroenterologist’s office. If you do not have a primary care physician, you can call 870.722.1020 in Hope, AR., 903.614.5270 in Texarkana, or 903.614.5952 in New Boston for more information.