Colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable diseases, yet it is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Of the more than 140,000 people diagnosed each year, approximately 56,000 will die from the disease. Through routine screenings, however, colorectal cancer can be prevented and cured if detected and treated early.
March is colorectal cancer awareness month
Educating the Santa Clarita Valley community about colorectal cancer is a high priority for Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital and its Community Hospital Cancer Program. A major goal is to educate the community and patients on the fact that colorectal cancer CAN, but does NOT have to be a killer. This is due largely to improved treatments and screening which allows more colorectal cancers to be found earlier.
“I am fortunate to be a colorectal cancer survivor,” said Jim Gilbert, a Henry Mayo patient. “I experienced the best care possible during my treatment at Henry Mayo and credit the doctors, nurses and staff for my recovery. However, had I done a routine colonoscopy when I was supposed to, I could have saved myself and my family much pain and heartache.”
It is estimated that as many as 60% of colorectal cancer deaths could be prevented if all men and women aged 50 years or older were screened routinely. In most cases, colorectal cancer develops from precancerous polyps or abnormal growths. It has been proven that screening tests can detect these precancerous polyps, so that they can be removed before they ever turn into cancer. Screening tests also can find colorectal cancer early, often at the point where treatment works best and has the best chance of success.
The risk of developing colorectal cancer increases with age; more than 90% of cases occur in people aged 50 or older. Symptoms for colorectal cancer can vary or there may be no symptoms at all, and men and women are equally at risk.
Remember, there are simple ways to reduce your risk and protect yourself. Talk to your doctor, get screened and eat right. To locate a physician who can provide more information on colorectal cancer screenings and prevention, call Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital’s physician referral Line at (661)253-8888 or visit www.scvdocs.com.