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Colorectal Cancer: Routine Colonoscopies and Early Detection Can Save Your Life

Posted on March 6, 2018 by Mitchell Rubinoff, M.D., Chair, Gastroenterology, Valley Medical Group

Having a colonoscopy to screen for colorectal cancer is not on anyone’s list of favorite activities. However, with colorectal cancer ranking as the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States, undergoing the outpatient procedure as per the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) guidelines may be one of the smartest things you can do for your overall health.  

When Should You Get Screened?

It is important for individuals to go for colorectal cancer routine screenings even if they are not showing any symptoms. In general, both men and women should begin getting routine colonoscopies beginning at age 50 or at age 45 for African Americans. Other risk factors that may lead to earlier screenings are:
  • A family history of colorectal cancer
  • Colorectal polyps
  • Genetic changes
Early Detection Through Screening Tests

It is best to catch colorectal cancer before you become symptomatic. Doctors can actually prevent cancers from ever developing by removing polyps and they can cure more patients by diagnosing cancer at an early stage. 

Possible screening tests for colorectal cancer include colonoscopy, virtual colonoscopy or stool tests. A colonoscopy is an outpatient procedure that is used to try to detect colon polyps and remove them before they can become cancerous. In a virtual colonoscopy, the physician uses the images from a CT scan to examine a patient’s large intestine (colon) and rectum. Stool tests are used to look for occult blood or other proteins in a patient’s stool that might indicate that a polyp is present. Your doctor will work with you to decide which test is appropriate based on your individual history and symptoms.

Fast-Track Screening Colonoscopy Program
Here at The Valley Hospital, having a colonoscopy just got easier and more affordable. Valley-Mount Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Care has launched a Fast-Track Screening Colonoscopy Program which streamlines the process of scheduling an appointment, obtaining a prescription for the prep medicines and test and then undergoing the procedure. This program is for low-risk patients. 
Patients ages 50 to 75 years, or 45 to 75 years old for African-Americans, can self-refer to the Valley Fast-Track Screening Colonoscopy Program. To see if you are a candidate for this program, please call 201-389-0808. Each patient will receive an initial consultation with an advanced practice nurse (APN) by phone and email. If a patient is deemed eligible by meeting certain health criteria, he/she will be referred to a board-certified Valley gastroenterologists or board-certified colorectal surgeon based on a health insurance match and patient preference. Once booked, the patient will receive a prescription for preparatory colon-cleansing agents and instructions.
I encourage anyone who believes they fit the screening criteria listed above to reach out to the Valley Fast-Track Screening Colonoscopy Program. Early detection really does save lives!


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