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RUTHERFORDTON – Rutherford Regional Health System (RRHS) proudly participates each March in Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. However, caregivers and providers encourage the community to be aware of the signs and dangers of colorectal cancer all year long.
According to Dr. Howard Koh, assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Colorectal cancer is the nation’s second leading cancer killer of men and women in the United States and a cause of considerable suffering among the 137,000 adults diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year. In 2010, over 52,000 Americans died from this cancer. However, when colorectal cancer is detected early, illness and death can be prevented.”
Colorectal cancer poses the greatest risk to adults over the age of 50, and the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that all individuals aged 50-75 be screened for colorectal cancer as part of routine preventive health care. Currently, about one in three adults between the ages of 50 and 75 are not receiving recommended screening. These are most likely to be Hispanics, those aged 50-64, men, American Indian or Alaska natives, those who don’t live in a city, and people with lower education and income.
With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, a major barrier to regular screening—cost of access to preventive care—has been removed. For the first time in our nation’s history, many Americans can receive without cost sharing high value preventive services, such as screening for colorectal cancer.
Colorectal cancer and death from this disease can be prevented thanks to effective screening tools. Many people do not realize that three tests—colonoscopy, highly sensitive stool tests (FOBT, fecal occult blood test, or FIT, fecal immunochemical test) and flexible sigmoidoscopy— are all effective at finding cancer early, and the best test is the test that gets done.
Colorectal cancer screening has been proven to save lives. Rutherford Regional Health System reminds the community that the physicians at Rutherford Surgical Associates routinely counsel and screen patients for colorectal cancer, and tests are easily performed on an outpatient basis at Rutherford Regional Medical Center. Call 828-286-1743 for more information.