J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital
1225 Warm Springs Avenue
Huntingdon, PA 16652
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J.C. Blair Partners with American Cancer Society to Promote Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States (excluding skin cancers). The risk of colorectal cancer increases with age - - more than 90 percent of cases are diagnosed in people 50 and older. Only about 5% of colorectal cancer cases are hereditary. Other factors that put you at risk are physical inactivity, a diet high in fat, obesity, smoking, and a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease and type 2 diabetes.

The good news is that colorectal cancer is one of the few cancers that can be prevented through regular early detection screening testing. By getting tested regularly with a colonoscopy – before you have symptoms – you can find colon growths (called polyps) that can be removed before they have the chance to turn into cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that colorectal cancer screening begin at age 50 for men and women, although some people may need to begin testing at an earlier age. With national healthcare reform’s emphasis on screenings and early detection, companies are now required to cover the cost of colonoscopies and polyp removal as preventive care. Patients should check with their health insurer to confirm coverage.

Early detection screening tests can also find colon cancers when they are easier to treat and bring an increased survival rate of up to 93%. If colorectal cancer is detected in a later stage, the chance of survival drops to 64%. Other ways of lowering your risk for colorectal cancer is by maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, and eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables.

The staff at J.C. Blair patients to talk with their doctor about their risk for colorectal cancer and, if at risk get screened. J.C. Blair Gastroenterologist Keith Waddle, D.O. noted, “The February 23, 2012 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine published an article entitled ‘Colonoscopic polypectomy and long-term prevention of colorectal cancer deaths’. This multi-centered study concluded that colonoscopic removal of adenomatous polyps prevents death from colorectal cancer. The mild inconvenience of preparing for a colonoscopy is far less than the rigors of surgery and chemotherapy used to treat colorectal cancer.”

For more information about the steps you can take to stay well from colorectal cancer, visit the American Cancer Society’s website at cancer.org or call 1-800-227-2345.