March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

You can help prevent this “silent” disease.

Colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon or rectum) is known as a “silent” disease, because many people do not develop symptoms, such as bleeding or abdominal pain, until the cancer is difficult to cure. This year, over 142,000 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and more than 50,000 will die of the disease.*

Ayaz ChaudharyColorectal Cancer“Most colon cancers start as noncancerous growths called polyps,” says Ayaz Chaudhary, MD, a gastroenterologist at Aiken Regional. “The best way to prevent colorectal cancer is to screen for polyps and remove them once they are found.”

Signs and symptoms

If you have any of the following, see your doctor:

  • Blood in or on your stool (bowel movement)
  • Stomach pain, aches or cramps that don’t go away
  • Losing weight and you don’t know why

When to get screened

Regular screening, beginning at age 50, is the key to preventing colon cancer. Some people are at higher risk because they have inflammatory bowel disease, a personal or family history of colorectal polyps or certain genetic factors.

If you believe you are at increased risk, ask your doctor if you should begin screening earlier than age 50.

National guidelines for colorectal cancer screening include several screening test options.*

Discuss with your doctor which test is best for you.

  • Colonoscopy: Your doctor uses a long, thin, flexible, lighted tube to check for polyps or cancer inside the rectum and the entire colon. During the test, the doctor can find and remove most polyps and some cancers.
  • High-Sensitivity Fecal Occult Blood Test (Stool Test): At home, you use a stick or brush to obtain a small amount of stool. You return the test kit to the doctor or a lab, where the stool samples are checked for the presence of blood.
  • Flexible Sigmoidoscopy: For this test, the doctor puts a short, thin, flexible, lighted tube into your rectum. The doctor checks for polyps or cancer inside the rectum and lower third of the colon.

*Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

New Study Confirms Lifesaving Role of Colonoscopy

A new study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine provides what independent researchers call the best evidence yet that colonoscopy prevents deaths. Although many people have assumed that colonoscopy must save lives because it is so often recommended, strong evidence has been lacking until now.

In patients tracked for as long as 20 years, the death rate from colorectal cancer was cut by 53 percent in those who had the test, and whose doctors removed precancerous polyps.**

Colonoscopy does not have to be done every year. If there are no polyps, it is recommended just once every 10 years. People with polyps are usually told to have the test every three years. But only about six in 10 adults are up to date on getting screened for colorectal cancer, according to federal estimates.

**Source: www.nytimes.com, Feb. 22, 2012

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Get a Free Colorectal Cancer
Screening Kit!

Colorectal cancer is often preventable and beatable — if it’s detected early. That’s why Aiken Regional is providing FREE colorectal cancer screening kits during the month of March. The kit contains a test designed to detect small amounts of hidden blood in your stool, which can indicate early problems with polyps or cancer. The test is performed in the privacy of your home.

People who are 50 years of age or older or who have a family history of colorectal cancer can receive a kit.

Get a free kit >

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March is Colorectal Cancer
awareness month
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Cancer Care Institute
of Carolina

Whether you need chemotherapy, radiation therapy or a combination of both, you can get the care you need at the Cancer Care Institute of Carolina in one comfortable, convenient place close to home.

Learn more >

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Aiken Regional Medical Centers is owned and operated by a subsidiary of Universal Health Services, Inc.(UHS), a King of Prussia, PA-based company, that is one of the largest healthcare management companies in the nation.        

Aiken Regional Medical Centers

302 University Parkway
Aiken, SC 29801
803-641-5000

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