MHMC Draws Attention to Importance of Colorectal Cancer Screening
Hospital to Use Local Billboards and Informational Campaign to Encourage Regular Colonoscopy
Colorectal cancer is the second most deadly cancer for both men and women. Yet according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most of these deaths could be prevented if everyone over the age of 50 years got screened for colorectal cancer. To increase awareness of colorectal cancer screenings, Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center is using highway billboards and a community information program to educate its neighbors about the prevalence of the disease and the role regular screenings play in prevention.
“The colonoscopy is the ‘gold standard’ for colon screenings and is proven to save lives. Signs or symptoms of colorectal cancer are extremely limited until the condition has progressed to an advanced stage, ” saidBoris Chusid, M.D., a renownedgastroenterologist affiliatedwithMEADOWLANDS HOSPITAL. “Colon polyps are known to be the precursors of colon cancer. By removing these during preventive colonoscopy screenings, we significantly reduce the risk of colon cancer in patients later in life. Recent studies show a reduction of more than 50% in colon cancer in a patient population that receives regular screening.”
Risk factors for colon cancer include smoking, a strong family history of colon polyps or colon cancer, and ethnic origin. African Americans are at particular risk from colorectal cancer, and are advised to start their screening at age 45.Regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight may decrease risk. While there is no official connection between diet and colorectal cancer, medical experts recommend a diet low in red meat and animal fats, and high in fruit and vegetables. Researchers are also looking at medications and dietary supplements, including aspirin, calcium, vitamin D, and selenium, as part of potential preventive measures.
In the end, the most effective way to reduce your risk is by having regular colorectal cancer screening tests. Average-risk individuals should begin screening when they reach 45 (for African Americans) or 50 years of age, and continue screenings at regular intervals. If no polyps are identified at the first procedure, patients can go as long as 10 years before their next screening. If polyps are found, your doctor may request screenings every three to five years. More frequent screenings are also suggested for those with a family history of colorectal cancer or who have a history of ulcerative colitis or other inflammatory bowel condition.
For more information regarding a colonoscopy and other colorectal cancer screenings, contact Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center at 201-392-3100 or visit our website at www.meadowlandshospital.org. Your insurance may require a doctor’s referral for colonoscopy screening.