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March - Colon Cancer Awareness Month

Queens Gastroenterologist Dr. David Tenembaum


-According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the 3rd most common cancer in men and women diagnosed in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2018 there will be 97,000+ new cases of colon cancer, 43+,000 new cases of rectal cancer and expected to cause 50,630 deaths.

Why get checked for colorectal cancer?

-The major reason for getting screened for colon cancer is not just catch it early, but to prevent it from ever happening. Having polyps found and removed prevents people from getting colon cancer.

What is a polyp?

-A polyp is excess tissue that grows along your gastrointestinal tract. The cause is mostly unknown, they rarely cause any symptoms and are usually found during screening examination such as a colonoscopy

What is a colonoscopy?

-A colonoscopy is a screening test to ensure that polyps are removed before they ever form into a cancer.

When is time to get checked for colon cancer?

-The American Cancer Society Recommendations for Colorectal Cancer Early Detection recommends that starting at age 50, men and women at average risk for developing colorectal cancer should use one of the screening tests below:

Tests that find polyps and cancer

  • Colonoscopy every 10 years

  • CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every 5 years

  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years

  • Double-contrast barium enema every 5 years

Tests that find mainly cancer

  • Fecal immunochemical test (FIT) every year

  • Guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) every year

  • Stool DNA test every 3 years

People at increased or high risk need to start colorectal cancer screening before age 50 and/or be screened more often. The following conditions make your risk higher than average:

  • A personal history of colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyp

  • A strong family history of colorectal cancer or polyps

  • A personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s)

  • A known family history of a hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis

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