Noyes Goes Blue
Wednesday, February 28, 2018
On March 2, Noyes Health employees will GO BLUE. Employees will be donning blue tutus, wigs, leggings, beads, and other fun gear to bring attention and awareness to Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.
Back in 2000, March was designated as the month to educate and inform folks about colorectal cancer and the importance of screening. Excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates there will be 97,220 new cases of colon cancer and 43,030 new cases of rectal cancer in 2018.
Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men and women in the United States. It is expected to cause about 50,630 deaths this year. The ACS reports the death rate (the number of deaths per 100,000 people per year) from colorectal cancer has been dropping in both men and women for several decades. There are a number of likely reasons for this. Due to screening, polyps are found and removed before they can develop into cancers. In addition, cancers found early are easier to treat. Treatment for colorectal cancer has improved over the last few decades. As a result, there are now more than 1 million survivors of colorectal cancer in the United States. The five-year survival rate is about 92% if cancer is found at the local (early) stage. Approximately, 40% of colon cancers are found at this early stage. Thirty-six percent of colon cancers are found at a regional stage (spread to surrounding tissue) while 20% are found after the disease has spread to distant organs. Understanding the screening options can substantially lower your risk.
According to the Colon Cancer Alliance, there are two main categories of screening options, tests by your doctor and in-home tests.
Tests by Your Doctor
These tests are performed by your doctor and may require preparation the day before.
- Colonoscopy – examines entire colon – if found, doctors can remove growths during the procedure.
- CT Colonoscopy – images of the entire colon are taken and if growths are present, a colonoscopy will be required to remove them.
- Sigmoidoscopy – examines only the portion of the colon, allows doctors to remove growths during the procedure.
These tests can be performed in the comfort of your own home. A colonoscopy will be required if results are positive.
- FOBT (Fecal occult blood test) – detects small amounts of blood through a stool sample and requires a special diet the day before.
- FIT (fecal immunochemical test) – detects small amount of blood in stool sample – does not require a special diet.
- sDNA (Cologuard) – finds DNA in a stool sample which indicate precancerous or cancerous cells are present – also can detect blood.
Discuss the options with your physician to determine which test makes the most sense for you.
If you or a close relative have inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis; a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps; a genetic syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (Lynch syndrome), contact your physician. You may need to start screening before age 50. Otherwise, anyone 50 and older should be screened. If you are African American or at high risk, start at age 45. No matter the screening option, the benefits far outweigh any time issues, embarrassment, or mild discomfort.
If you would like more information about screening, go to: New York State’s Department of Health website at https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/cancer/colorectal/ or locally, call the Cancer Services Program of Livingston and Wyoming Counties at 800-588-8670. If you are uninsured, the Cancer Services Program can also assist you with free screenings as well as insurance information.