Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month: The Importance of Colonoscopy

Kevin Cohen and Dr. March Seabrook after broadcasting live from Lexington Medical Center about the importance of colonoscopy to screen for colorectal cancer

Dr. March Seabrook, Lexington Medical Center gastroenterologist, was the featured guest on the WVOC radio show “Health Matters” with Keven Cohen broadcast live from Lexington Medical Center March 11th.

This month is colorectal cancer awareness month. Dr. Seabrook spoke about the importance of colonoscopy. Here are excerpts from the doctor’s comments:

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death. But unlike other cancers, it’s preventable.

“The biggest risk factor for colorectal cancer is the number of candles on your birthday cake,” Dr. Seabrook said. The at-risk group is age 50 and above. The best test to screen for the disease is colonoscopy, which should begin at age 50; for African-Americans, age 45.

During a colonoscopy, a gastroenterologist passes a lighted tube around the colon to look for abnormalities. The doctor can also identify small polyps and remove them.

Statistics show 6% of the population will get colon cancer. If you have a family history, your risk increases to 15%. Your lifestyle can also increase your risk; a low-fat, high-fiber diet is best.

According to Dr. Seabrook, if colorectal cancer is detected early, and is limited to the inside lining of the colon, the 5-year survival rate is above 90%. If the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or liver, the 5-year survival rate is less than 10%. That’s why a routine screening through colonoscopy is so important.

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