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Colon Cancer Awareness: Listen to Your Pathologist
March 3, 2016
About 1 in 20 people in the US will develop colon cancer during his or her lifetime. And, in my state of Massachusetts, more than 30 people per 100,000 will be diagnosed with this life-threatening disease. These are alarming statistics. However, if everyone was tested as recommended more lives could be saved.
As a physician specializing in pathology and laboratory medicine, I use the microscope to examine cells and tissues to diagnose colon cancer and other diseases. I know that regular screening is the best way to find colon cancer early. When detected early, colon cancer is highly treatable; survival rates can be high as 90 percent.
Several tests can be used to screen for pre-cancerous polyps and colon cancer—the fecal occult blood test; flexible sigmoidoscopy; and colonoscopy. All three are widely used and available to patients.
March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. If you’re between 50 and 75 years of age, it’s an ideal time to speak with your physician about the screening test that is right for you. If you have a family history of the disease, you’ll want to speak with your physician as soon as possible. Acting now could save your life.