Screening Is Your Best Bet Against Colorectal Cancer
Joliet, IL (March 16, 2012) — There’s a crucial medical test you shouldn’t put off as you leave your 40s. If you are at average risk for colorectal cancer, you should begin screenings at age 50. The rules are a little different for those with chronic inflammatory bowel disease or other risk factors; they may need to begin testing earlier.
“Ninety percent of colorectal cancer cases can be cured when found and treated at an early stage, so regular screenings are important,” said Riten Sheth, M.D., Chairman of the Endoscopy Committee at Silver Cross Hospital.
Different Tests Offered
The American Cancer Society recommends that patients at average risk receive one of the following four tests, which can detect cancer and polyps. Polyps are abnormal growths that can turn into colorectal cancer.
- A flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years
- A colonoscopy every 10 years
- A double-contrast barium enema every five years
- A virtual colonoscopy every five years
Healthy Habits Help
Aside from testing, is there anything else you can do to avoid colorectal cancer? The following habits have been linked to a lower risk for colorectal cancer:
- Exercising regularly
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Eating lots of fruits and vegetables
Screening Should Start before Symptoms
Colorectal cancer is often symptom-less in its earliest and most curable stages. Screening helps detect polyps so they can be removed before turning cancerous.
Symptoms of colorectal cancer may include:
• Any change in the usual pattern or frequency of bowel habits
• Diarrhea, constipation, or a feeling that your bowels have not emptied completely
• Blood in the stool that is either bright-red or very dark
• Stools that are narrower than usual
• Frequent gas pains, cramping, or bloating.
Depending on your age and risk factors, your physician may suggest certain screening tests as part of a regular checkup. One common test is a simple, annual fecal occult blood test (FOBT). This painless test requires stool samples that can be collected in the privacy of your home.
Colon Cancer Screening Kit
In recognition of Colorectal Cancer Prevention Month, Colon Cancer screening kits will be available during March at Silver Cross Hospital. To receive a free Colon Cancer screening kit, call Silver Cross Hospital at 1-888-660-HEAL. The screening process is simple. A small sample of your stool is collected at home using the self-screening kit. Upon returning the kit, the stool is tested for blood in the Silver Cross laboratory. Results will be mailed to you.
New Colonoscopy Suites
One of the single most exciting enhancements to the new Silver Cross Hospital located at I-355 and Route 6 in New Lenox is the Procedural Care Unit (PCU) which combines surgery, interventional cardiology and radiology, as well as endoscopy (colonoscopy) procedures into one integrated area. Located on the second floor of the new hospital, patients having a colonoscopy or other gastrointestinal test or procedure will benefit from one of 4 state-of-the-art endoscopic surgical suites. There are also 66 private pre/post procedural rooms and a large Family Lounge. Every aspect of the PCU has been designed for flexibility, operational efficiencies, and advanced technology. For a referral to a physician who performs colonoscopies at the new Silver Cross Hospital, call 1-888-6690-HEAL.
About Silver Cross Hospital
Silver Cross Hospital is a not-for-profit health care provider serving Will County and southwest suburban communities since 1895. Silver Cross has been recognized as a Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals National Award winner for the last seven consecutive years and as one of America’s Most Customer Friendly Hospitals by the American Alliance of Healthcare Providers. With over 2,900 employees, physicians and volunteers, Silver Cross operates a 289-bed acute care hospital and 10 satellite facilities providing outpatient services and physician offices. A state-of-the-art replacement hospital opened Feb. 26, 2012 at I-355 and Route 6 in New Lenox. To learn more about Silver Cross Hospital or a referral to a physician on staff, visit www.silvercross.org or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).