March Is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
Among cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. And every year, approximately 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with the disease and more than 50,000 die from it.
The Bon Secours Charity Health System hospitals: Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Suffern, NY; Bon Secours Community Hospital in Port Jervis, NY and St. Anthony Community Hospital in Warwick, NY encourage the people in their communities to begin screening for colorectal cancer soon after turning 50, and then keep getting screened regularly.
“Colorectal cancer is a cancer that can be prevented, or at the very least treated successfully when detected early,” said Peter M. Kaye, MD, FACS, FASCRS, director of colon and rectal surgery at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center. “Colorectal cancer is most prevalent in patients over the age of 50. And screening for colorectal cancer starts at age 50, unless there is a strong family history, or if a patient has symptoms such as rectal bleeding or a change in bowel habits at a younger age.”
Dr. Kaye explained that there are different ways of screening, but colonoscopy is the gold standard. A skilled colonoscopist can both examine the colon, and remove any precursors to cancer (polyps) at the time of examination. The procedure is safe and painless because it is performed with gentle sedation.
“Patients need to be proactive about their wellness,” said Dr. Kaye. “Don’t be a victim. Prevention is by early detection. Schedule an appointment with your local colorectal surgeon or gastroenterologist to see if it is time for you to schedule a colonoscopy.”