Colon and Rectal Cancer
According to the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer in the U.S.
Early detection is key. Most cases begin with non-cancerous polyps. Because these early-stage polyps often have no symptoms, regular colonoscopies are essential. In 80-90 percent of cases, when this cancer is discovered and diagnosed in its earliest stages, patients are restored to normal health. However, the cure rate drops to 50 percent when diagnosed in later stages.
The surgeons at Colon and Rectal Surgery Associates of Augusta perform regular screening colonoscopies and colonoscopy procedures to locate and remove polyps. It is recommended that at age 45 for African Americans and at age 50 for all others. People at higher risk of developing colorectal cancer (those with a first degree family history - parent, sibling, or child) should begin screening at age 40 or 10 years younger than the age at which your family member was diagnosed.
Colonoscopies are performed on an out-patient basis in a hospital or surgical center setting, with the presence of an anesthesiologist.
A colonoscopy allows the physician to look at the inner lining of the large intestine using a thin, flexible tube called a colonoscope. A colonoscopy helps find ulcers, colon polyps, tumors, and areas of inflammation or bleeding.
When colorectal cancer is diagnosed, surgery is necessary for complete cure. Sometimes patients also undergo chemotherapy and radiation. Thanks to modern technology, only a small percentage of patients who have surgery for colorectal cancer require a permanent colostomy (the surgical reconstruction of an artificial opening from the colon for removal of waste).