Colon cancer is the second leading cause of death in both men and women in South Carolina. It is also the one cancer that is nearly 100% avoidable due to the many screening methods that exist. However, even with all the available screening methods, it is often diagnosed at a very late stage due to the lack of symptoms, which is why it’s often referred to as a “silent killer.” Prisma Health Gastroenterologist Veeral Oza, MD, discussed advances in screenings that help with early detection, ultimately saving lives.
“Some of the screening options for colon cancer involve looking for small amounts of blood, while others involve evaluating for high risk DNA. Despite the different screening options available, colonoscopy remains the gold standard. It is the only way to not only find precancerous growths, called polyps, but also to remove them,” said Dr. Oza.
Over the past 50 years, technology has provided improvements in detection and treatment, including the following:
- The prep that patients drink to clean the bowels before a colonoscopy.
- Camera scopes, known as endoscopes, have improved the ability to detect polyps.
- Techniques, such as endoscopic mucosal resection and full-thickness resection, allow us to find high-risk growths and remove them, with no need for major surgery or chemotherapy.
According to the Department of Health and Environmental Control, men are 30% more likely to be diagnosed and 46% more likely to die from the disease than women. Let us all – men and women – come together and ensure that our families and friends undergo colon cancer screenings.