Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the US, affecting more than 140,000 people each year and accounting for more 52,000 deaths annually. Most colorectal cancers form from what’s medically called precursor adenomatous polyps, noncancerous growths in the colon or rectum that remain undiscovered and develop into cancer. The truly heartening takeaway is that colorectal cancer is highly preventable – it simply requires polyps to be removed before they have a chance to turn malignant. For this reason, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that everyone ages 50 to 75 undergo routine colorectal cancer screening.
If Colorectal Cancer is Preventable, Why is the Mortality Rate Over 35%?
Simply put, traditional testing methods, which include colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy and barium enema, are so unpleasant – and in some cases risky – that even people with elevated risk factors tend to avoid them like the plague. Risk factors include: being 50 or older, having personal or family history of colorectal cancer or polyps, obesity, a low-fiber, high-fat diet, a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, diabetes, an inflammatory disease like Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis, and testing positive for blood a stool sample. Sadly, even folks with one or more symptoms of the disease, such as chronic constipation, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, bloody stools, cramps, excessive gas, weakness, fatigue and unexplained weight loss, often avoid being tested. It is even harder to get people screened before symptoms appear, when polyps can be found and removed before they become dangerous – hence, the unnecessarily high mortality rate.
Is There a Better Screening Option?
In an effort to get more people to participate in routine screening and prevent more cases of colorectal cancer, Radiology Associates Imaging offers CT colonography, or CTC. In use since 1994, CTC has shown to be as effective as traditional colonoscopy with less risk, and superior in accuracy to barium enema and flexible sigmoidoscopy, without the danger of bowel perforation. While it still requires the usual colon cleansing preparation, CTC is quicker, safer, more comfortable, convenient and cost-effective than other tests, and requires no sedation or needles.
A local leader in diagnostic technology, RAI offers state-of-the-art computer-assisted, multi-array CTC, for greater speed and accuracy with fewer stressful false positives and the lowest possible level of radiation. It is the quickest and most comfortable test available for colorectal cancer screening.
If you’re 50 or older, or 40+ with a personal or family history of polyps or colorectal cancer, talk to your doctor or clinician about CT colonography from RAI. Screening is only once every 5 years, and yes, the relatively minor inconvenience is well worth it.
So don’t wait. The best cancer is the one that never has a chance to happen.