Colorectal cancer, commonly known as colon cancer, is a dangerous form of cancer. According to the CDC, colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. When it comes to fighting cancer, screening is crucial.

Dr. Eric Hill, a gastroenterologist at North Hills Hospital, offers the following important advice:

"Colon cancer is a preventable disease. About 90% of colon cancers arise from polyps, and a colonoscopy can allow for detection AND removal of polyps before they have the chance to progress to cancer. A single colonoscopy can decrease your risk of colon cancer by 70%."

Now that you understand the importance of a colonoscopy, here are key facts to remember about the screening process.

During a colonoscopy, doctors remove polyps that could become cancer. Think of it this way: In addition to getting screened, you’re actually fighting what could become cancer later. According to the Colon Cancer Alliance, about 70% of polyps removed during a colonoscopy rarely cause symptoms. Most times, you would never know you had polyps without having a colonoscopy performed.

Screenings are the best way to reduce your risk of colorectal cancer. The CDC offers suggestions for reducing risk, but asserts that the most effective way to reduce your risk is by having regular colorectal cancer screening tests. As Dr. Hill mentioned, your risk of developing colon cancer could decrease by as much as 70% with this screening. Don't forget, these tests should begin at age 50.

Colonoscopies aren’t that bad. While it may seem embarrassing or awkward to have a colonoscopy, these life saving screenings are too important not to follow up with. Approach it with a good attitude and be proud that you’re doing something great to take control of your health.

You don’t have to get a colonoscopy that often. While some screening tests for colorectal cancer need to be performed annually or every few years, a colonoscopy only has to be performed every ten years or so. Get it over with near your 50th birthday and you won’t need to think about it for a while. If you have an increased risk for colon cancer, your doctor may advise you to be screened more often.

Colorectal cancer screenings put you in control. Consider this statistic from the CDC: As many as 60% of deaths from colorectal cancer could be prevented if everyone age 50 and older were screened regularly. Does that inspire you to get screened? Fight this statistic by scheduling an appointment to talk to your physician about colorectal cancer prevention today.

North Hills Hospital is here to assist you with the latest screening methods and cancer prevention techniques. If you would like to make an appointment with Dr. Eric Hill or any physician at North Hills Hospital, please call our physician referral line at 1-855-5NHILLS.

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