GI Services: Prevention is the best medicine

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer among men and women in the United States. The good news, though, is that the cancer is also one of the most preventable.

This type of cancer is largely preventable because it is slow developing. It can take as many as 10 to 15 years for a precancerous polyp to develop into colorectal cancer. During that time, if a polyp is discovered during a colorectal screening, it can be removed.

“The majority of colorectal cancers develop from polyps,” says Matt Graham, M.D., division chief of UT Erlanger Oncology and Hematology. “Identifying polyps at an early stage, when an outpatient colonoscopy to remove them can interrupt the development of colorectal cancer, prevents disease and, ultimately death.”

The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends colorectal cancer screening for most adults begin at age 50. Through the Affordable Care Act, colorectal cancer screening is covered free of cost under most insurance plans.

“Screening makes a difference, and it should not be delayed,” Dr. Graham says. “It is also important to know your family’s medical history and discuss any cases of cancer with all physicians you see. Screening may be recommended earlier or more often for patients with a strong family history of colorectal cancer or other types of cancer.”

GI services, including colorectal cancer screenings, are now available at Erlanger East Hospital. Speak to your primary care physician about scheduling your colorectal cancer screening at Erlanger East Hospital.