During Colorectal Cancer (CRC) Awareness Month in March, Albany Medical Center’s experts are advising the community that colorectal screening saves lives.
“Screening for those 50 and over is absolutely vital, since the risk of getting colorectal cancer increases with age at that point,” said Vinay Sood, DO, associate professor of Medicine and director of Advanced Endoscopy in the Division of Gastroenterology at Albany Medical College. “Sometimes individuals with CRC don’t have any symptoms indicating something is wrong.”
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed among men and women in the United States and the second leading cause of cancer deaths. Albany Med offers the full range of colorectal cancer screenings and treatments.
Screenings available through the Division of Gastroenterology include colonoscopy, recommended every 10 years starting at age 50; high-sensitivity fecal occult blood test (FOBT), stool test, or fecal immunochemical test (FIT), recommended every year; and sigmoidoscopy (minimally invasive medical examination of the large intestine), recommended every five years.
Individuals at a higher risk for cancer, including those with a family history of colorectal polyps or cancer and other factors, should consult a physician as more frequent screening may be needed. African Americans may be at greater risk and should begin screenings at 45.
“Detection and removal of cancer precursor lesions can prevent many cancers and deaths,” Dr. Sood said. “Getting a colonoscopy or other screening is one of the smartest health decisions a person can make.”