March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States when numbers for both men and women are combined. If detected early and before it has spread, the five-year survival rate for patients with colorectal cancer is about 90 percent.

Colorectal cancer can begin with small growths in the colon called polyps. Screenings can help detect cancer and polyps before they turn into cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, men and women at average risk for developing colorectal cancer should begin screening at age 50. Men and women with an increased or high risk for developing colorectal cancer should consult with their primary care provider to determine when to begin screenings. High-risk factors include family history of colorectal cancer or polyps.

A colonoscopy is a screening test to detect cancer and polyps. A physician looks at the entire length of the colon and rectum with a colonoscope – a thin, flexible, lighted tube with a small video camera on the end.

Please consult with your primary care provider about when to begin screening. If you need a colonoscopy, have your provider refer you to Verde Valley Medical Clinic – General Surgery in Cottonwood.