Screening Key to Early Detection of Colorectal Cancers

Strong Doctors Mark Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

March 21, 2007

"Studies show that only half of the people who are at risk of colon and rectal cancers are getting screened regularly."

If you’re over 50, you should get screened for colorectal cancers, because early detection could save your life.

Doctors at Strong Memorial Hospital and the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center encourage all adults over 50 to schedule a colorectal screening with their physician to mark Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Every year, more than 150,000 people are diagnosed with colon cancer.

“Early detection offers the best chance for a cure,” said Samantha Hendren, M.D. assistant professor in the Division of Colorectal Surgery and Wilmot Cancer Center.

Beginning at 50, you should begin annual stool tests, which are a simple at-home test you can get from your physician. In addition, you should undergo a sigmoidoscopy every five years.  This procedure allows doctors to view the lower portion of the colon for signs of cancer or polyps.  A colonoscopy allows doctors to view the whole colon, which is another excellent screening procedure.  If you have a family history of colorectal cancers, you should begin screenings sooner.

“Sadly, studies show that only half of the people who are at risk of colon and rectal cancers are getting screened regularly,” said Jenny Speranza, M.D., assistant professor in the Division of Colorectal Surgery and Wilmot Cancer Center. “We have to be vigilant about getting these very important tests.”

Colon cancer is considered a silent disease, because often there are no symptoms until the disease has reached an advanced stage. Treatment options are limited and chances for long-term survival are lower, according to Alok Khorana, M.D., assistant professor of Hematology/Oncology at the Wilmot Cancer Center.

“As one of the larger practices in the area providing screening colonoscopy services, we combine state-of-the-art technology with clinical experience, active education programs and basic and clinical research,” said Richard G. Farmer, M.D., professor and chief of the Gastroenterology and Hepatology Division. “This combination enables us to be ‘cutting edge’ in our endoscopic, consultative, and patient care services.”

You can lower your risk of these cancers by choosing a diet rich with fruits, vegetables and grains, limiting high-fat foods, and exercising at least 30 minutes per day.  Some studies show that folic acid, calcium and vitamin D also help lower your risk of colon cancer.

For more information on colorectal screening, please contact your primary care doctor or call the Wilmot Cancer Center at (585) 275-5830 or toll-free at 1-866-4WILMOT.

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For Media Inquiries:
Leslie White
(585) 273-1119
Email Leslie White