New guidelines hope to prevent colon cancer in younger people

Mar 25, 2022 at 06:54 am by WGNS


March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and according to the Centers for Disease Control colorectal cancer is a third leading cause of cancer death for both men and women in the United States.

Join TriStar StoneCrest's board-certified gastroenterologist, Dr. Francisco E. Garcia-Gonzalez on March 31, 2022, for Real Talk.

Dr. Garcia will break down everything you need to know about polyps, why they are one of the key culprits in colon cancer, and why regular screening for colorectal cancer is your best defense for identifying and removing these cancer culprits.

Colonoscopies, the best screening tool available, are often able to prevent colon cancer, and now doctors are recommending the screening for people who are age 45 and over.

"We've known for a few years that the age of diagnosis is getting younger and younger," said gastroenterologist Dr. Francisco E. Garcia-Gonzalez. "The change in the screening guideline to age 45 has allowed us to find precancerous polyps at a much earlier age and safely remove them before they become cancer."

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Removing a Colon Polyp - Continued...

During a colonoscopy, doctors use a scope to find any abnormalities in the colon. What makes a colonoscopy unique compared to other screening tests is that precancerous polyps can actually be removed during the procedure. "This can be a preventative test. We can remove those polyps and prevent cancer down the line," said Dr. Garcia-Gonzalez.

While preventing colon cancer is the ideal scenario, sometimes doctors do find cancer. Dr. Garcia-Gonzalez says finding cancer during a routine colonoscopy is better for patients than waiting until symptoms occur.

"Colon cancer is a very treatable disease if discovered early, and colonoscopies are the way we catch it early," Dr. Garcia-Gonzalez says. No matter your age, if you are having symptoms like changes in the bowel or blood in the stool, it is important to call your physician immediately.

While the benefits of colonoscopies are clear, Dr. Garcia-Gonzalez says there are many patients who delay their screening because it is an invasive procedure that hasn't always had the best reputation.

"Nobody is excited to come and get a colonoscopy, but the way the procedures are done now versus the way they were done even a few years ago is completely different," said Garcia-Gonzalez. Anesthesia is used during the procedure so there is no patient discomfort, and the bowel preparations for the procedure have improved significantly.

"If you are age 45 or older, please talk to your physician about regular cancer screenings," said Dr. Garcia-Gonzalez. "The first colonoscopy screening can be scary, but I always tell patients to remember that we are not just looking for cancer. This procedure has the potential to prevent it from occurring in the future."

At TriStar StoneCrest Medical Center, gastroenterologists and endoscopy teams work together to create a comfortable and relaxing environment for patients during their colonoscopies.

TriStar StoneCrest is the first hospital in Tennessee to use artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance the detection of precancerous colonic polyps during screening colonoscopies.

Enhanced screening through the GI Genius™ Intelligent Endoscopy Module, is a powerful new ally in the prevention of colorectal cancer (CRC). TriStar StoneCrest offers convenient access to this potentially life-saving procedure close to home for our community.

If you are interested in scheduling preventative cancer screenings, like a colonoscopy, please reach out to your primary care physician or call 615-342-1919.

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Because March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, there will be a special Facebook Live Presentation on March 31, 2022, from 12:30 pm –12:45 pm. The presentation will be on the TriStar StoneCrest Medical Center Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/TriStarStoneCrest.

Join board-certified gastroenterologist, Dr. Francisco E. Garcia-Gonzalez for Real Talk. Dr. Garcia-Gonzalez will break down everything you need to know about polyps, why they are one of the key culprits in colon cancer, and why regular screening for colorectal cancer is your best defense for identifying and removing these cancer culprits.

 

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