Colorectal cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in America, certainly so in Georgia. The good news is that the disease is also highly treatable if detected early, and that is why the experts at Longstreet Clinic preach the value of colorectal screening.
Georgia Trend magazine recently sought the guidance of Longstreet physicians for its June 2022 feature titled, “A Preventable Disease – The most important step in beating colorectal cancer is early screening”. And Drs. Devi Sampat, M.D., and Fernando Aycinena, M.D., FACS, FASCRS, took the time to share with readers exactly what they tell their own patients.
Specifically, colorectal screening and knowing your family’s cancer history saves lives.
Dr. Aycinena, a colorectal specialist with Longstreet Clinic General Surgery, recommends a diagnostic colonoscopy as the gold standard of screening, while Dr. Sampat, a medical oncologist and hematologist with Longstreet Clinic Cancer Center, notes that anyone with a first-generation relative with colorectal cancer (parent or sibling) should be particularly aware. Anyone in that situation should start screening at an age 10 years earlier than when a first-generation relative was diagnosed and at least by age 40.
It is part of renewed efforts to address the fact that studies show increased rates of colorectal cancer among people younger than 50. In fact, the American Cancer Society (ACS) recently updated its screening recommendation that even people of “average” colorectal cancer risk start regular screening at age 45 versus 50 as previously recommended.
Longstreet Clinic’s providers have been trying to educate their patients and the community about these changes, and want all Georgians to understand the implications, releasing this statement when the ACS adopted the recommendations.
When you consider that 5,000 Georgians are diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year (13-14 per day) and that 4-5 die from the disease each day, it is a guideline worth heeding. That is especially true when you consider that colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable malignancies, due to its long natural history of progression.
Longstreet providers want people to understand that the availability of screening tests that can detect the disease early, including in precancerous stages, and therefore make a very real difference in outcomes.
The other good news is that many regular preventive screenings are covered by insurance, with no deductibles or co-insurance, so check with your insurance provider for specific benefits.