Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month is in March, but the fight against colon cancer, the 2nd deadliest cancer, continues all year long. DDEC was represented April 11th at the 3rd Annual Colorectal Collaborative Symposium held at the Community Cancer Center (CCC) in Normal, IL . The meeting was sponsored by the American Cancer Society, SIU School of Medicine and CCC in support of the “80% by 2018” initiative. The goal of this movement is to have 80% of the eligible population screened for colon cancer by next year. Presently, 70.1% of suitable McLean County residents have had some form of a screening test.
The American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) makes a distinction between colon cancer prevention screening (colonoscopy) and colon cancer detection screening (a stool test called FIT). You see, colon cancer is a sneaky disease in that it often doesn’t cause any symptoms until it gets large enough to either obstruct or bleed. Even then, the bleeding is usually occult; that means you can’t see it. We know most colon cancers begin as small growths called polyps. By removing polyps with colonoscopy, many colon cancers can be prevented.
We support FIT testing in someone who can’t or won’t undergo a screening colonoscopy. But why wait until your FIT test shows occult blood in your stool? Wouldn’t you rather prevent a cancer from developing in the first place?
Most of all, we just want you to get screened. You do have a choice in this important decision. If you are over 50 and haven’t had your colonoscopy or annual FIT test yet, talk to your physician. Or call us at DDEC to schedule your colonoscopy today. Make sure you tell your doctor about any family members who have had colon cancer; screening usually starts earlier.
Help us reach 80% by 2018- it just might save your life.