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    Defend Your Health: Screen for Colorectal Cancer

    National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month Symptoms and Risk Reduction

    Photo By Michelle Gonzalez | National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March emphasizes the importance of...... read more read more



    Story by Deidra Martin-Jones 

    Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center & Fort Meade MEDDAC

    FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md.- Health experts recommend those 45 years of age and older to get screened for colorectal cancer. The goal of screening is to find cancer before the symptoms appear.

    Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of death in men and women, with rates rising among younger adults.

    According to the American Cancer Society, when colorectal cancer is found at an early stage, the five-year relative survival rate is about 90%. But only about 4 out of 10 colorectal cancers are found at this stage before it has spread. When cancer has reached stage 4, the five-year survival rate drops to 13%.

    Angelique Nolan, a public health nurse at Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center, said signs of colon cancer are not always noticeable in the early stages. “If there are symptoms in the early stages, they may include changes in bowel movement, blood in or on your stool, abdominal pain, and aches and pains that don’t go away,” Nolan said.

    Several tests can be used to screen for colorectal cancer. Understanding these tests is a key part in the fight against the disease. Talk with your provider to determine which screening test would be best for you.

    Methods of testing include:

    • Stool tests: Should be screened yearly. Stool samples are checked for tiny amounts of blood in feces (stool) that cannot be seen visually.
    • Sigmoidoscopy: Should be screened every five years over the age of 50. The rectum and sigmoid colon are examined using a sigmoidoscope, a flexible lighted tube with a lens for viewing and a tool for removing tissue.
    • Colonoscopy: Should be screened every 10 years for low-risk patients. It is also used as a follow-up test for unusual results from other screening tests. Colonoscopies locate precancerous or cancerous growths, called polyps, on the interior lining of the colon.
    • Virtual colonoscopy: Should be screened every five years for those with average risk. It is a CT scan that creates a 3D image of the inside of the colon.

    Preventive measures that reduce the risk of colorectal cancer include regular exercise, weight management, a high-fiber and low-fat diet, no smoking, and minimal alcohol intake.

    To schedule your appointment with your provider, send a secure message through the MHS GENESIS patient portal or call 301-677-8800.



    Date Taken: 03.13.2024
    Date Posted: 03.13.2024 15:45
    Story ID: 466101
    Location: FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, MD, US

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