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February 28, 2022  |  News Category: Hospital News, Hospital News

Laurinburg, N.C. –  Among cancers that affect men and women, colorectal cancer, cancer of the colon or rectum, is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the United States. It is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in our country.

The Centers for Disease Control projects that in 2022 there will be about 106,180 new colorectal cancer diagnoses, 44,850 new cases of rectal cancer and 52,580 deaths in both men and women from the disease.

“The risk of developing colorectal cancer increases with advancing age,” stated general surgeon, Dr. Stephen Lanuti. “More than ninety percent of cases occur in people aged 45 or older.”

Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month is important to highlight because a significant number of people, more men than women, still do not seriously consider the recommendation for a colonoscopy. “All men and women aged 45 should have a screening colonoscopy. When a person has a family history of colon cancer, a screening should be done earlier. For instance, if your relative had colon cancer at age 45, you should be screened for colon cancer at age 35.”

General Surgeon, Dr. Brain Parkes, encourages people to approach their primary care physician about having a colorectal cancer screening. “If your PCP physician has not discussed it with you, ask him or her about scheduling an appointment with a physician who does colonoscopies.”  Screening tests can find colorectal cancer early, when treatment works best. In most cases, colorectal cancer develops from precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum. Most of these polyps are small and easily removed, which decreases the chances of them developing into cancer.

“As surgeons we realize economics may not allow some patients to see their physician as often as necessary; therefore, they may wait longer to have a colonoscopy. Unfortunately, we see quite a number of patients with colon cancer.  It’s much easier to treat a small polyp than it is to treat advanced colon cancer. The highlight of my day is to have patients come in for screening examinations. These exams do save lives and that’s what we are here to do.”

Reducing Your Risk
Colorectal cancer screening saves lives. However, many people who are at risk for the disease are not being screened according to national guidelines. It is estimated that as many as sixty percent of colorectal cancer deaths could be prevented if all men and women aged 45 years or older were routinely screened. Some studies also show that increased physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight may decrease the risk for colorectal cancer. Evidence is less clear about other ways to prevent colorectal cancer.

What Are the Screening Tests for Colorectal Cancer?
There are several other tests available to screen for colorectal cancer. Some are used alone; others are used in combination with each other. Talk with your doctor about which test, or tests are best for you. These screening tests are recommended by the USPSTF:
Colonoscopy (every 10 years). 
High-sensitivity fecal occult blood test (FOBT) (every year). 
Flexible sigmoidoscopy (every 5 years)

Dr. Lanuti added, “Many people put off having their colonoscopy because of embarrassment, fear, or stories they have heard about the prep.  Please don’t let any of these issues prevent you from a simple test that could save your life. If you are reading this and you are at least 45 years old and have not had a screening colonoscopy, make the call today.  Contact your primary care provider or call Scotland Surgical & GI at 277-9164. It could save your life.”