Early Detection: How colon screening could save your life

Save your life; get screened for colon cancer

Fact: If you are a man or woman over the age of 50 you’re at risk of colon cancer.

That’s a tough pill to swallow.  The way to deal with it? Get tested. Colon cancer is preventable. Getting screened can help detect cancerous polyps or early stage colon cancer. According to the American Cancer Society: When diagnosed at an early stage the survival rate for colorectal cancer is about 90%. But, only about four out of ten colorectal cancers are found at that early stage. When cancer spreads outside the colon, survival rates decrease

With all this knowledge, people are still not taking the necessary steps to avoid a potentially life-threatening disease. The American Cancer Society reported that only half of people eligible for colon screenings follow through with examinations.

If you are one of the latter, it is time to get serious about your health.  Who should get tested?  The American Cancer Society recommends colorectal cancer screening for:

  • Men & women 50 years of age or older
  • Anyone with family history of colon cancer, or
  • Those with symptoms such as:
    • Changes in bowel habits
    • Rectal bleeding or bloody stool
    • Weakness and tiredness
    • Unintentional weight loss

While there are a few options for colon screening, colonoscopies are generally the most effective way to help detect the early warning signs of colon cancer. During a colonoscopy, your doctor can remove a polyp and in turn, lower the risk of it becoming cancerous.

“Polyp” is a weird word, and it might be strange to envision.  Without getting too technical, they are growths in your system that get larger over time. Not all are deemed cancerous, but as time goes on, polyps can turn into colon cancer.

So, If you are a man or a woman over the age of 50, have a family history of colon cancer or are experiencing any of the signs of colon cancer, it is time to get tested.

CVPH is the one-stop shop for colon screening and treatment. We offer American Cancer Society recommended screenings for early detection of colorectal adenomas and cancer, including Flexible Sigmoidoscopy and Colonoscopy at Kevin J. Carroll Ambulatory Surgery Center, as well as Barium Enema, Fecal occult blood test (FOBT), Fecal immunochemical test (FIT) and Stool DNA test.

For patients needing follow-up care, we have a skilled colorectal surgeon on staff and coordinated, patient-centered treatment programs at the CVPH Fitzpatrick Cancer Center.

So get screened for colon cancer. It can save your life. Talk to your doctor or find a physician at UVMHealth.org/CVPH.