Colorectal cancer remains preventable

Mar 7,2012
Colon cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer, yet it is the second highest cause of cancer-related death in the U.S. Finding colorectal cancer early is the key to beating it. That’s why Samaritan Endoscopy Center and Samaritan Cancer Program recommend a colonoscopy to detect pre-cancerous polyps while they are still small and curable.

Colonoscopy is an outpatient procedure that allows your doctor to look at the interior lining of your large intestine (rectum and colon) through a thin flexible viewing instrument called a colonscope. A colonoscopy transmits an image of the lining of the colon so the physician can examine it for any abnormalities (i.e. ulcers, polyps, tumors, and areas of inflammation or bleeding). During a colonoscopy, tissue samples can be collected and abnormal growths can be removed. Colonoscopy can also be used as a screening test to identify and remove precancerous and cancerous growths in the colon or rectum.

Many physicians recommend a colonoscopy every 10 years, beginning at age 50. Discuss your personal risk factors with your primary care provider to find out when you should begin screening for colorectal cancer.

Factors that increase your risk for colorectal cancer:
  • Age – More than 90 percent of colorectal cancer cases are diagnosed in people ages 50 or older
  • Polyps – Previous pre-cancerous (benign) growths
  • Family history – If a relative in your immediate family has been diagnosed with colorectal cancer or has had benign polyps
  • Lifestyle – A diet that is high in red meat, fat, tobacco and alcohol use, and inadequate exercise
If you have questions about colonoscopy screenings or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact your primary care provider. If you don't have a primary care provider, call our Physician Referral Network at 1-800-863-5241 and a representative will direct you to a physician.