The Lifesaving Screening Test
March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
Traverse City, February 25, 2013 – March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and Digestive Health Associates of Northern Michigan (DHA) is reminding everyone over the age of 50 – or younger, if risk factors are present – to get screened for the disease.
Because it often displays no symptoms until later stages, and because many people are too embarrassed or fearful to get a screening test, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States for both men and women. The Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation estimates that approximately 142,000 new cases of colorectal cancer will be diagnosed in 2013, and 50,830 people will die from the disease. The fact is that colorectal cancer is preventable, treatable and curable.
People who are at the greatest risk for developing colorectal cancer include anyone over 50, those with a personal or family history of polyps, cancer of the colon or rectum, or inflammatory bowel disease. Obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, an unhealthy diet, smoking, or excessive alcohol use also increase risk factors.
The most accurate screening test for colorectal cancer is a colonoscopy. Performed by a gastroenterologist, it is a simple, low-risk procedure that examines the entire length of the colon for the presence of polyps. If polyps are found, they can be removed immediately, preventing them from becoming cancerous. The test is done under sedation, so the patient is comfortable and relaxed. It usually takes less than half an hour. Those who have undergone the procedure can testify that the benefits far outweigh any reasons for avoiding it.
The staff at Digestive Health Associates is happy to provide free literature on colorectal cancer and screening procedures, as well as answer any questions related to this topic. Contact your primary care physician for additional information or a possible referral. Information is also available online at www.dha-nm.com or www.preventcancer.org/colorectal.
Digestive Health Associates of Northern Michigan, P.C is dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases of the digestive tract. For more information, call Digestive Health Associates at 231.935.5710 or visit www.dha-nm.com.