Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month is an observance held every March to raise awareness of colorectal cancer (CRC) and to promote research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, survivorship, and cure.
Colorectal cancer is a disease in which cells in the colon or rectum grow out of control. Sometimes, this condition is called “colon cancer” for short.
The colon is the large intestine or large bowel, and the rectum is the passageway that connects the colon to the anus. Abnormal growths called polyps sometimes form in the colon or rectum. Over time, some polyps may turn into cancer.
East Georgia Healthcare Center has partnered with Georgia Center for Oncology Research and Education (GaCore) to help individuals in the community be screened regularly for colorectal cancer. Through this partnership, EGHC provides at-home test kits, even if the patient is uninsured and needs financial assistance with a colonoscopy.
GaCore is a statewide nonprofit organization that leverages partnerships to increase research, education, and early cancer detection in rural, urban, and suburban communities across the state of Georgia.
“Early detection of colon cancer can save your life,” said Sable Fleming, LPN and Clinical Liaison Specialist for East Georgia Healthcare Center. “Once colon cancer becomes symptomatic, nine out of 10 times, it’s too late.”
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force suggests that adults aged 45 to 75 get screened for colorectal cancer. Deciding to get screened between ages 76 and 85 should be made individually, so talk to your doctor about screening.
Some people are at an increased risk due to inflammatory bowel disease, a personal or family history of colorectal polyps, or colorectal cancer. Others suffer from genetic syndromes like familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (also known as Lynch syndrome). These people may need to start screening earlier than age 45. If you believe you are at increased risk, ask your doctor if you should begin screening earlier.
Multiple colorectal cancer screening strategies are available, including stool tests, flexible sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, and CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy). Your doctor can help you decide which test is right for you.
“Give our office a call to schedule a screening and go over screening options,” Fleming continued. “We offer an at-home noninvasive test that only takes two minutes and can detect colon cancer early.”
East Georgia Healthcare Center is a non-profit community-owned health center governed by a local board of directors, most of whom are active patients. EGHC provides services in 13 counties in southeast Georgia and has committed to providing excellent quality care since its start in 1994. East Georgia Healthcare has locations in Swainsboro, Baxley, Metter, Mount Vernon, Reidsville, Soperton, Statesboro, Vidalia, Wadley, Millen, Sylvania, and Claxton. For more information on East Georgia Healthcare Center and colorectal screening, visit https://eghc.org or go to EGHC’s Facebook page.