Colorectal Cancer 4

Thursday, March 15, 2012

In todays 60 Second Housecall, Dr. Edward Hill continues his week-long look at colorectal cancer by reviewing screening tests.

Dr. Hill:

Most colorectal cancers begin as benign polyps, which, over a period of many years, develop into cancer.

More than 50,000 people die of colon cancer every year. Colon cancer is usually preventable or can be caught in its earliest and most curable stages, by colonosocopy. Almost all men and women age 50 and older should have a colonoscopy.

Colonoscopy is usually painless and most patients sleep through the entire procedure. Certain people may require colonoscopies before age 50.

Fecal occult blood test, sigmoidoscopy, barium enema and virtual X-ray procedures are other screening tests that can be used for early detection and prevention of colon cancer, but colonoscopy remains the most effective method.

Most cases of colon cancer have no symptoms. Proper screening should detect colon cancer before symptoms develop, when the disease is most curable. Anyone age 50 or older who has not had a colonoscopy should call a physician to schedule one.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.