Gastroenterology Associates are a group of specialists who deal with the health and diseases of the digestive system. The problems treated by a gastroenterologist can range from GERD (acid reflux) to Irritable Bowel Syndrome. But during the month of March, a nation-wide push for awareness of colorectal cancer, another disease treated by the team at Gastroenterology Associates, becomes a major local focus too. Colon Cancer Awareness has been a huge initiative for the American Cancer Society in recent years, because it is such a preventable disease. March has even been recognized by the president as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.
Colorectal Cancer is cancer of the colon and/or rectum and usually develops over a period of years and starts as pre-cancerous colon polyps. An individual has approximately a 1 in 20 chance of being diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime. However, colorectal cancer is one of the MOST PREVENTABLE cancers, with up to 90% possibly avoided with early detection. For this reason, your Baton Rouge gastroenterologists, at Gastroenterology Associates, have launched a massive awareness campaign on a local level to work to get the attention of at-risk individuals.
Who’s at risk for Colorectal Cancer?
Over 90% of all colorectal cancer cases occur in individuals over the age of 50. This is where screening should begin, but due to recent research on colorectal cancer variances in race, the American College of Gastroenterology recommends that screening begin at age 45 for African-Americans. Also, there are several risk factors for the disease, some modifiable and some not, that might predispose an individual to colorectal cancer, and these can include:
- Family History/ First Degree Relative with Colorectal Cancer- increases risk 2-3 times
- Personal History of genetic syndrome, such as Lynch or Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)
- Personal History of Colorectal Cancer- increased risk of recurrence
- Personal History of Colon Polyps, especially if polyps were large or multiple
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease, such as Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis
- Physical Inactivity
- Being Overweight or Obese
- Poor Diet
- Alcohol Consumption
What Does This Mean To Me?
Every year, over 140,000 Americans will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and over 50,000 Americans will dies from the disease annually. Estimates place the number of colorectal cancer deaths that could have been prevented with timely screening at about half of the annual deaths. Colorectal cancer screening, optimally done with a colonoscopy performed by a board-certified gastroenterologist, can detect pre-cancerous polyps, and they can be removed before turning into cancer. This is when screening becomes a life-saving procedure. More importantly still, colonoscopy and other screening tests also help to find colorectal cancer, preferably early while still most treatable and has the best prognosis.
Screening reduces mortality both by decreasing incidence and by detecting cancers at earlier, more treatable stages. The goals of screening for colorectal cancer are the prevention of cancer through the detection and removal of precancerous growths and the diagnosis of cancers at an early stage.
How Can I Get Screened For Colorectal Cancer?
Louisiana ranks 46th in the nation for timely screening of at-risk individuals for colon cancer. Despite the many reasons that could be contributing to the lag in proper and on-time screening of Louisianans, the colon cancer doctors at Gastroenterology Associates have tried to make gaining access to screening as easy as possible. The Colon Cancer Screening clinic, sometimes called the Open Access Clinic, is set up specifically for individuals looking to be screened. The colon cancer screening clinic in Baton Rouge does not require a physician’s referral, but eligible patients should meet the following criteria:
- Must be 50 years of age or have a family history of colon cancer or colon polyps
- Must be in general good health
- No previous colonoscopy or 5-7 years since last colonoscopy
- If medical problems are detected during this screening visit, patients will be scheduled for an evaluation by one of our physicians
If you meet the above criteria, please click the button below to fill out an online request for appointment or call (225) 927-1190 now to schedule your free pre-procedure evaluation at our Colon Cancer Screening Clinic. Let’s Get BEHIND Screening!
Disclaimer: All information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not replace the consultative advice and experienced feedback from your physician. Always consult with your physicians on any of your questions and concerns.