Most cancers don’t come with advance warning, but colorectal cancer often does, making most cases preventable with early detection. As the third most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death among Americans, colorectal cancer is a disease for which all adults 50 and older should be tested. March has been designated National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month to highlight important facts about how to help keep yourself safe from this largely preventable disease.
Most colorectal cancers are preceded by growths in the colon called adenomatous polyps. While most polyps are benign, adenomatous polyps result in the majority of colorectal cancers. When caught early, these polyps can be removed before they become cancerous. So why is there such an alarming fatality rate for this highly avoidable cancer? Because many people don’t want to undergo screening, which has a reputation for being somewhat arduous and unpleasant. Let’s review the facts about screening options.
Tests for Colorectal Cancer
During a CTC, a small tube is inserted a few inches into the colon and gently inflated with carbon dioxide or air to expand the area. The patient lies still for a few seconds while the CT scanner captures a series of images and sends them to a computer for detailed examination. Studies suggest that for high-risk or symptomatic patients, CTC imaging is comparable to traditional colonoscopy. CTC testing and analysis requires specialized training, and the qualified radiologists and technologists of Radiology Associates Imaging have undergone this additional training for added safety and accuracy.
What Factors Place Someone at Higher Risk?
- People at an elevated risk for colorectal cancer include those age 60 and older, those with a personal history of colorectal or certain other cancers and/or a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps, patients with ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, and those of African or Eastern European ancestry. If you have a history of smoking, heavy alcohol use or a high-fat, low-fiber diet, ask your doctor if this elevates your risk. If your doctor has determined that you are at higher risk for colorectal cancer, ask him or her about when to begin diagnostic screening, as it may be recommended that you begin before age 50 and that you receive specific exams.
When it comes to colorectal cancer, prevention is the best medicine, so don’t put it off. For the latest in diagnostic services and the advanced training and dedication of experienced radiologists, you can trust Radiology Associates Imaging for a complete circle of care.