Photo: Dr. Daren Wu
Colorectal cancer is the nation’s second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths; however, it is one of only a few cancers that can be prevented. Through proper colorectal cancer screening, doctors can find and remove hidden growths (called “polyps”) in the colon, before they become cancerous. Removing polyps can prevent cancer altogether.
“Colorectal cancer is a major public health problem for both men and women. Adults age 50 and older should be regularly screened for it, but we have found that many people aren’t getting tested because they don’t believe they are at risk, don’t understand that there are testing options or don’t think they can afford it,” said Alvaro Carrascal, VP of Health Systems for the American Cancer Society. “The truth is that the vast majority of cases of colorectal cancer occur in people age 50 and older. Colorectal cancer in its’ early stages usually has no symptoms, so everyone 50 and older should get tested. There are several screening options – even take home options – available. Plus, many public and private insurance plans cover colorectal cancer screening and there may be local resources available to help those that are uninsured.”
Dr. Daren Wu, Chief Medical Officer for Open Door Family Medical Centers, commented, “We’ve chosen Men’s Health Month as an occasion to highlight the need for colorectal cancer screening rates, because we have found that men are less likely than women to continue health screenings of all types as they get older, particularly if they have limited or no access to insurance. ” Dr. Wu added, “Men over 50 should get screened, and they should ask the women in their lives to get screened. If lack of insurance is a barrier, they should come see us at Open Door, because we can help.”
While colorectal cancer incidence rates have dropped 30 percent in the U.S. over the last 10 years among adults 50 and older, it is still the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S, despite being highly preventable, detectable and treatable. In fact, in 2015 in the U.S., 132,700 cases of colorectal cancer were diagnosed.
Contact your primary care physician today to talk about your colorectal cancer screening. For more information about services offered through Open Door, visit www.opendoormedical.org.