Colorectal Cancer Screening
Tuesday, March 10, 2009

More than 150,000 cases of colorectal cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year, and it is the second leading cause of cancer deaths. Dr. Edward Hill takes a look at screening methods for the disease in todayís 60 Second Housecall.

More than 50,000 people die of colon cancer every year. Colon cancer can be diagnosed in its earliest and most curable stages by colonoscopy. All men and women age 50 and older should have a colonoscopy.  People with colon cancer risk factors may need colonoscopy before age 50.

Colonoscopy is almost always painless.  Most patients are asleep for the entire procedure.

Other screening tests for colon cancer include: testing the stool for blood, sigmoidoscopy, or scoping just the lower part of the colon, and barium enema.  Imaging of the colon by an MRI scan is a new technology that holds promise for non-invasive cancer screening, but colonoscopy remains the most effective method.

Most cases of colon cancer have no symptoms. Colon cancer can be detected early and possibly cured through proper screening.  If you wait until you have symptoms, it may be too late.  If you are over 50, you should ask your physician to arrange a colonoscopy.  Donít die of this preventable cancer.

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