Colon Cancer Awareness Month
Among cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon or rectum) is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. In fact, every year, more than 135,000 Americans are diagnosed with colon cancer, and more than 50,000 die from it. It is estimated that 1 in 23 Americans will develop colorectal cancer in their lifetime, affecting people in all racial and ethnic groups.
The good news is that this disease is highly preventable and treatable if detected in early stages through proactive, routine screening colonoscopies.
A screening colonoscopy helps prevent colorectal cancer by finding precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) so they can be removed. Also, it detects cancer early, when treatment can be most effective. People who are diagnosed at early stages have over a 90 percent chance of a cure and survival. If you have colorectal cancer and don’t get tested, you may miss the chance for early and more effective treatment. Remember, precancerous polyps and colorectal cancer don’t always cause symptoms, especially at first. You could have polyps or colorectal cancer and not know it. That is why having a screening test is so important!
Screening should begin at age 50 (unless you are African American, then screening should begin at age 45).
Some patients with family history of colorectal cancer may be at higher risk and therefore may require an earlier colonoscopy. If you think you may be at increased risk for colorectal cancer, our doctors will let you know when to begin screening.
Also, it is important to be aware that colorectal cancer is beginning to affect people younger and younger. Data now shows that ~15% of colorectal cancers are diagnosed before age 50. If you notice a change in your health: eg, stomach pain, aches or cramps that do not go away, a change in bowel consistency, loss of weight unintentionally, blood in your stools, you should talk to our doctors to assess these symptoms.
If you have any questions or need to set up an appointment, please contact Gotham Medical Associates at 212-227-3688. We offer screenings for polyps and cancer using the latest screening techniques.
Remember, the easiest colon cancer to treat is the one you don’t get. Screening saves lives!