By Dr Josh Taylor

The Surgical Clinic surgeons want everyone to know that early detection and treatment is the best way to approach Colorectal Cancer. Colorectal Cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosis in men and women in the U.S. It is the second most common cause of cancer deaths. The lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is about 5% (1 in 20). Men and African-Americans are more commonly affected. The good news is colorectal cancer is very treatable, if caught early. It is estimated that over 60% of colorectal cancer deaths are preventable if appropriate screening is done. This is due to the very high survival of patients with early stage colon cancer. Screening for colorectal cancer helps detect the disease at an early stage and there is a very high survival rate of patients with early stage colorectal cancer.

Multiple societies, including the American Cancer Society, the United States Preventive Services Task Force, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and several professional medical societies have published joint screening recommendations for colorectal cancer. For the average person, screening should begin at the age of 50. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, a personal history of polyps, inflammatory bowel disease, or certain genetic conditions, you may need to begin screening sooner.

There are multiple screening options that exist. Colorectal cancer screening tests are divided into two categories:  those that can detect polyps and cancer and those that can detect cancer only. Colonoscopy is likely the most familiar test to screen for colorectal cancer. This is a procedure that requires a bowel cleansing preparation and then a camera on a flexible scope is used to evaluate the entirety of the colon and rectum. Some people do not want to undergo such an invasive test or have to endure a bowel preparation. Other less invasive screenings include home tests which test the stool for either the presence of blood or other material that have been shown to be equally effective at detecting cancer. Talking with your doctor about which screening test best suits you is important. Remember, early detection of colorectal cancer is lifesaving. The best test is the one that gets done!

If you are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, it is very likely you will need surgery. Surgery is the cornerstone of colorectal cancer treatment. Early stage colorectal cancer is potentially curable with surgery. The surgeons at The Surgical Clinic, PLLC offer advanced surgical procedures in colorectal cancer surgery with minimally invasive and robotic surgery options. These have been shown to be as effective as traditional surgery for treating colorectal cancer with the benefit of less pain, faster recovery, and less complications associated with surgery.

March is colorectal cancer awareness month, if you, your family, or your patients meet criteria, encourage them to go get screened!