Colon cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in the United States, but most cases are preventable with routine colonoscopies. According to AMSURG, a leading national healthcare group, more than 200,000 colonoscopies were missed in 2020. Therefore, it is essential to schedule a colon cancer screening for early detection and treatment.
March is Colorectal Cancer (CRC) Awareness Month, a time to learn how to prevent and detect colorectal cancer. Anyone can develop colon cancer, regardless of age, gender or fitness level.
Begin Colon Cancer Screenings at Age 45
AMSURG, a leading national medical group with the most extensive and comprehensive tracking system of colon cancer screenings in the nation, encourages individuals who are at average risk to begin routine screenings at age 45 and not to delay essential screenings because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
When detected early, CRC can be easier to treat, and patients often have better outcomes. The American Cancer Society estimates that nearly 150,000 people will be diagnosed with CRC in 2021. Although the rate of people being diagnosed with CRC has dropped in recent years, the incidence among young adults is increasing. According to AMSURG data, pre-cancerous polyps have been found in one out of every four patients who have undergone a colonoscopy since 2019.
Every Month Counts with Colon Cancer
“Every year, every month counts with CRC,” said Brenda Thompson Green, AMSURG employee. “Four years ago, I was diagnosed with colon cancer at the age of 46. Had I been encouraged to get screened a year earlier, there’s the potential that I could have had a much more positive outcome and not required such intense treatment. I am alive today because I listened to my body, sought the appropriate care and received a screening colonoscopy at the suggestion of my physician. Until the screening age is more broadly accepted, I cannot stress how important it is for people to know their family history, understand the symptoms and not delay care.”
What is a Colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a comprehensive procedure in which physicians can detect and remove polyps before they become cancerous. Colonoscopies are instrumental in helping people maintain their health and quality of life.
CRC does not disappear during a pandemic. In 2021, AMSURG revealed that more than 200,000 patients missed their colonoscopies, and based on statistical expectations, approximately 900 of these people would have CRC.
It is essential to be aware of the symptoms of colon cancer: a persistent change in your bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation or a change in the consistency of your stool, rectal bleeding or blood in your stool, persistent abdominal discomfort like cramps, gas or pain, or a feeling that your bowel doesn’t empty completely.
Schedule Your Colonoscopy at an AMSURG GI Center
The best decision you can make this month is to educate yourself and your family about the importance of a quality colonoscopy. With 255 surgery centers in 34 states, we are ready to serve you with compassionate, quality care.
“At our centers, we provide patients essential care and support the health of communities – even during a pandemic,” said John Popp, MD, Medical Director for AMSURG. “We continue to adhere to rigorous quality and safety measures to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 exposure.”
Click here to find a fellowship-trained gastroenterologist in your area.