Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a common and lethal disease. CRC is the fourth common cancer in the United States and second leading cause of cancer death. It is estimated that approximately 135,000 new cases of colon cancer are diagnosed annually in the United States. About 50,000 Americans are expected to die of CRC each year. Both men and women are at the same risk of getting CRC. About four of every 100 adults will be diagnosed with CRC in their lifetime. Risk factors for CRC include advancing age, family member with CRC, person history of colon polyps, obesity, smoking, heavy alcohol intake, red meat, and African-American race.

But despite all that, the good news is that CRC is preventable! Various screening tools help detect not only cancer but pre-cancerous polyps which when removed, preventing colon cancer. The U.S.Multi-Society Task Force on Colorectal Cancer (MSTF) has approved six screening tools which include Colonoscopy every 10 years, fecal immunochemical test (FIT) annually, CT colonography every fice years, FIT-fecal DNA  every three years, Flexible Sigmoidoscopy every five to 10 years, and Capsule colonoscopy every five years. Of these tests, colonoscopy is the only test which not just indentifies pre-cancerous polyps but has the ability to remove them at the same time. Screening for CRC should start at age 50. However, it may start early if you have a family member with CRC, or history of ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.  Subsequent screening  interval and method may vary if at any point your screening test is abnormal.

CRC claims lives and many are preventable with timely screening. Although one screening method might be better than the other, any screening is better than no screening. Talk to your doctor today and get a test which works best for you.

Learn more about screening and schedule an appointment at www.rushcopley.com/services/digestive-health.

Dhiraj Gulati

Dhiraj Gulati, MD is board-certified gastroenterologist. He has advanced training for the diagnosis and treatment of digestive conditions that affect both upper GI and lower intestinal tracts. Dr. Gulati’s expert knowledge help patients find relief from troublesome issues and he works closely with them to find the best approach for their unique needs. Dr. Gulati is welcoming new patients to his practice locations in Aurora and Yorkville.

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