AKRON, Ohio, March 12, 2012– Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths overall but also is one of the most preventable and treatable.
In 2012, the National Cancer Institute estimates there will be more than 140,000 new colon and rectal cancer cases and nearly 52,000 deaths. However, if everyone age 50 and older got their colonoscopy, the number of colorectal cancer cases in the United States would decrease by as much as 80 percent*.
“I know a colonoscopy isn’t something people look forward to but it’s the best screening test for colon and rectal cancer and it could save your life,” said Ram Bandi, M.D., gastroenterologist with Summa Physicians, Inc. at Summa Health System. “Many colon cancers can be prevented through regular colonoscopies so polyps can be removed before they become invasive cancer.”
Screening for colorectal cancer should begin in men and women of average risk at age 50. Though researchers haven’t been able to identify the cause, African Americans are more likely to develop colorectal cancer before age 50. Therefore, it’s recommended that African Americans begin screening at age 45. Healthy individuals without risk factors or abnormal findings at their first exam should consider having a colonoscopy repeated every 10 years.
Individuals with a strong family history of colon cancer – and other related cancers such as endometrial, stomach and ovarian – particularly in first degree relatives like a father, mother, sister, brother or children are at an especially high risk. In some cases, genetic testing is warranted. High risk patients will need more frequent surveillance and should discuss their situation with their doctor.
To lower your risk of colorectal cancer, the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons recommends:
- Having regular colorectal cancer screenings after age 50 (45 for African Americans due to a higher rate of incidence)
- Eating a low-fat, high-fiber diet
- Consuming only a moderate amount of alcohol
- Quitting all tobacco products, especially cigarettes
- Exercising for at least 20 minutes, three to four times per week
To schedule a colonoscopy at Summa, call 888-720-5318 or visit www.summahealth.org/colon to learn more.
* American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
About Summa Health System
Summa Health System is one of the largest integrated healthcare delivery systems in Ohio. Encompassing a network of hospitals, community health centers, a health plan, a physician-hospital organization, a multi-specialty physician organization, research and multiple foundations, Summa is nationally renowned for excellence in patient care and for exceptional approaches to healthcare delivery. Summa's clinical services are consistently recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (Magnet status), U.S. News and World Report, Thomson Reuters and The Leapfrog Group. Summa also is a founding partner of the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron. For more information, visit www.summahealth.org or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/summahealth and Twitter at www.twitter.com/summahealth.