Colorectal Cancer Screening

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

As with most cancers, the best chance for surviving colorectal cancer is by detecting it early. Each year, around 150,000 Americans are diagnosed with colon cancer in the form of a colorectal tumor. Dr. Edward Hill discusses colorectal cancer screening in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

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

Approximately 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 are asleep for 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 over who has not had a colonoscopy should call a physician to schedule one.

Genetic testing is being studied as a possible way to screen for colorectal cancer in the future.

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