While the world deals with the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be easy to forget other aspects of staying healthy.
Colon cancer is a serious health crisis in its own right.
SMC Gastroenterologist Dr. Henry C. Ho said colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers, yet it’s also one of the most preventable.
“Colorectal cancer occurs from pre-cancerous growths, or polyps, that grow in the colon,” Dr. Ho said. “When detected early, polyps can be removed, preventing them from becoming colorectal cancer.”
Most colorectal cancers have no symptoms, which is why screenings are so important.
“Colorectal cancer is most common after age 50, but can strike at an earlier age if a person has a history of polyps, a strong family history of colorectal cancer, inherited forms of colorectal polyps or cancer, or predisposing chronic digestive conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis,” Dr. Ho said.
The American Cancer Society recommends patients undergo colonoscopy screenings beginning at age 45.
Colonoscopy is the preferred method of colorectal cancer screening. However, there are other options including the Fecal Immunochemical Test, the FIT-fecal DNA, CT colonography, and flexible sigmoidoscopy.
“Colonoscopy is the best test for finding precancerous polyps,” Dr. Ho said. “It’s the only test that allows for removal of precancerous polyps during an exam.”
Now that elective surgeries are once again being performed, it’s a good time to schedule a procedure. If you, or someone you know, needs a colonoscopy, call 856-832-4359 to make an appointment or for more information.