Colorectal cancer is a dangerous disease partly because patients rarely show symptoms before their cancer is too advanced to cure. Fortunately though, if it’s caught early, patients usually go on to full recovery. Central Maine Healthcare wants our entire community over the age of 45 to have colonoscopies so we can help stop this disease.
About Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal cancer refers to cancer that begins in the colon or in the rectum. Colon and rectum cancer are grouped together because they have many features in common, like all cancers, colorectal cancer begins when cells in the body begin to grow out of control.
While no cancer can truly be prevented, there are important steps you can take to significantly reduce your risk. It’s likely the best way to do this is getting your colonoscopy as soon as you turn 45. This test allows your gastroenterologist to detect pre-cancerous growths early, before they become cancer. These lifestyle changes are also associated with lower risk of colorectal cancer:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Increasing your physical activity
- Reducing alcohol intake
- Quitting cigarettes if you smoke
- Increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables in your diet
Detecting colorectal cancer early is possible through a variety of screening tests. These include visual exams, like a colonoscopy, and stool-based tests, in which a doctor checks the stool (feces) for signs of cancer. Stool-based tests are less invasive but must be done more often, usually once a year. A colonoscopy on the other hand is usually needed only once every 10 years.
Most polyps do not become cancer, but if you’re diagnosed, rest assured you’re in skilled and caring hands. Our multi-skilled team of gastroenterologists, colorectal surgeon, oncologists, specially trained nurses and support staff will work with you to create a personalized cancer treatment plan.
Extra Support in Your Fight Against Colorectal Cancer
Central Maine Healthcare is devoted to providing the best care for all our cancer patients. In addition to our highly skilled specialists, we offer features designed to give you full support during treatment and recovery. These include navigator nurses specifically dedicated to guiding you to resources that will support you and your family and oncology social workers who offer counseling.
Find a gastroenterologist near you:
Central Maine Medical Center