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Health Watch3


Dr. Tibaldi

Nicholas Tibaldi, MD is Department Chief for Gastroenterology at Southwest Medical Associates. Gastroenterology is the branch of medicine focused on the digestive system and its disorders. Colorectal cancer is a disease he and his colleagues often face. In cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the number two cause of deaths in the United States. However, it’s a highly preventable disease.

While March may be National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, the opportunity to share information on screening is timeless. 51,000 Americans die each year from colo-rectal cancer. Of cancers that affect both men and women, it’s the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. It is, however, a highly preventable dis-ease. It’s estimated that screenings can prevent at least 60 percent of these deaths. The most effective treatment is prevention.

Cancer is easily detected with colonoscopy. Colonoscopy is a safe procedure using a flexible tube equipped with a light and a camera. The tube is inserted into the rectum and colon to check for polyps or cancer. During the test, the doctor can find and remove most polyps and some cancers.

Two other screening tests can be performed at home and sent to a lab for analysis. “FIT” or fecal immunochemical testing and cologuard DNA testing are both at home, no-risk stool tests that can detect 80 to 90 percent of cancers. These are good options if you can’t have a colonoscopy. Don’t wait for symptoms before getting screened.

A colonoscopy really can prevent cancer altogether. Colon cancer, especially early on, often does not cause any symptoms, so screening is your best defense. Screening should begin at age 50 and continue until age 75 for most men and women. Ask your doctor if you should be screened and see which options are best for you.

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