As health care systems responded to COVID-19 by halting nonessential visits, patients lacked access to preventive cancer screenings. Now, cancer diagnoses have dropped. But what does that mean for the future?Read More
VINELAND, NJ (March 27, 2015) – March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and colorectal cancer expert Peter J. Senatore, Jr., M.D., a double board-certified colon and rectal surgeon at Inspira Medical Group, is trying to raise awareness of this potentially life-threatening disease.
"Colorectal cancer is the fourth most commonly occurring cancer in the U.S. and nearly five percent of Americans will develop colorectal cancer in their lifetime. Additionally, it is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., with over 56,000 people expected to die from this disease each year," Dr. Senatore explains. "However, what’s most important for community members to know is that colorectal cancer is a preventable and very curable disease if caught early."
Because there are often no symptoms when it is first developing, colorectal cancer can only be caught early through regular screening. "The benefits of early detection and treatment are dramatic," Dr. Senatore says. "The possibility of curing patients after symptoms develop is only 50%, but if colorectal cancer is found and treated at an early stage before symptoms develop, the opportunity to cure it is 80% or better.”
Most colon cancers start as non-cancerous growths called polyps. If a person has polyps that are found early while they are still non-cancerous, they can be removed and the cancer may be prevented. This can also help the person avoid having major surgery.
The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS) support the following colorectal cancer screening guidelines:
- For people at average risk of getting colorectal cancer, a digital rectal examination and fecal occult blood test, which screens for hidden blood in the stool, are recommended annually beginning at age 50.
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy (a test that allows the physician to look directly at the lining of the lower colon and rectum) is recommended every 5 years at age 50 or older.
- A colonoscopy (a test that allows the physician to look directly at the lining of the entire colon and rectum) is recommended every 10 years or a barium enema (x-ray of the colon) every 5 to 10 years are acceptable alternatives.
- People at increased/high risk of getting colorectal cancer may need earlier and more frequent screening depending upon the recommendation of their healthcare provider. People at increased risk include those with a personal or family history of colorectal polyps or cancer, those with a personal history of breast, uterine or ovarian cancer, and those with chronic ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease.
In addition to timely and regular screening for colorectal cancer, people may be able to lower their risk of getting the disease by:
- Avoiding foods that are high in fat.
- Eating plenty of vegetables, fruits and other high-fiber foods.
- Exercising regularly and maintaining a normal body weight.
- Avoiding smoking and drinking alcohol beyond moderation.
For more information on colorectal cancer screening and prevention, ask your primary care provider or call Dr. Senatore, Inspira Medical Group Surgical Associates, at (856) 213-6375.
Dr. Senatore is board certified by the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery.
About Inspira Health Network
Inspira Health Network is a charitable nonprofit health care organization formed in November 2012 by the merger of South Jersey Healthcare and Underwood-Memorial Hospital. The network, which traces its roots to 1899, now comprises three hospitals, four multi-specialty health centers and a total of more than 60 locations. These include outpatient imaging and rehabilitation centers; urgent care; numerous specialty centers, including sleep medicine, cardiac testing and wound care; home care and hospice; and more than two dozen primary and specialty physician practices in Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties.
Together with its medical staff of more than 1,100 physicians and other care providers, as well as more than 5,500 employees, Inspira Health Network provides evidence-based care to help each patient achieve the best possible outcome. Clinical and support staffs are focused on providing quality care in a safe environment.