Colonoscopies are considered the "gold standard" in colorectal
cancer screening, but other tests are also available. A flexible
sigmoidoscopy is another screening procedure that uses a shorter
colonoscope and examines only the last one-third of the colon. The
doctors may also provide genetic testing for colorectal cancers.
"I donít think we can emphasize enough the lifesaving capacity of
these screening tests," said James Thiele, M.D., colon and rectal
surgery specialist at Springfield Clinic. "The survival rates for
early diagnosis versus the survival rates for patients whose cancer
has already spread is astronomical."
According to the American Cancer Society, the five-year survival
rate for colon cancer found at an early, localized stage is 90
percent. The five-year survival rate for colon cancer once it has
spread is 12 percent.
Colorectal cancer occurs when malignant cells are found in the
colon or rectum. Because colon cancer and rectal cancers have many
features in common, they are sometimes referred to together as
colorectal cancer. Cancerous tumors found in the colon or rectum
also may spread to other parts of the body.
Excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the
third-most-common cancer in both men and women -- and the
second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths. The lifetime risk of
developing colorectal cancer is one in 20. The American Cancer
Society estimates that, in 2013, 142,820 new cases of colorectal
cancer will be diagnosed. Colorectal cancers are expected to cause
approximately 50,830 deaths this year.
Early diagnosis dramatically increases the chance of survival. In
fact, the number of deaths due to colorectal cancer has decreased,
which is attributed to the increased use of screening colonoscopy
and polyp removal.
Risk factors for colorectal cancer may include:
Age -- Most people
who have colorectal cancer are over age 50; however, it can
occur at any age.
African-Americans have the highest risk for colorectal cancer.
Diet -- Colorectal
cancer is often associated with a diet high in red and processed
Polyps -- Benign
growths on the wall of the colon or rectum are common in people
over age 50 and are believed to lead to colorectal cancer.
-- People who have had colorectal cancer or a history of
adenomatous polyps have an increased risk for colorectal cancer.
Family history --
People with a strong family history of colorectal cancer or
polyps in a first-degree relative (especially in a parent or
sibling before the age of 60 or in two first-degree relatives of
any age) have an increased risk for colorectal cancer.
or Crohn's disease -- People who have an inflamed lining of the
colon have an increased risk for colorectal cancer.
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syndromes, such as familial adenomatous polyposis or hereditary
nonpolyposis colon cancer.
Type 2 diabetes.
Though the exact cause of colorectal cancer is unknown, there are
behavioral changes that can have some effect. The American Cancer
Society estimates that nearly one-third of all cancer deaths can be
attributed to weight, diet and lack of physical activity.
"There are certainly things we can do to better our odds of
prevention -- eating right, exercising, not smoking," says Ashish
Chopra, M.D., specialist in gastroenterology at Springfield Clinic.
"But screening tests, such as colonoscopies, can catch the disease
early, allowing us to treat colorectal cancers before they become
deadly, or before they become cancer at all. They truly are
A colonoscopy procedure with a Springfield Clinic colon and
rectal surgeon or gastroenterologist can typically be scheduled
within two weeks of the initial consultation appointment. Patients
with acute symptoms, like blood in the stool, will be given the
highest priority and seen as soon as possible. Most screening
colonoscopies are completed at Springfield Clinic's Ambulatory
Surgery & Endoscopy Center, located at the clinic's Main Campus East
Building, 1025 S. Sixth St. in Springfield.
To schedule a colonoscopy or other colorectal cancer screening
tests, call Springfield Clinic at 217-528-7541 or visit
Springfield Clinic is a progressive, physician-led
multi-specialty medical group devoted to providing the highest
quality health care to its patients. With more than 375 physicians
and midlevel providers practicing in nearly 80 medical specialties
and sub-specialties, Springfield Clinic serves a population of
nearly 1million patients throughout the central Illinois region. As
one of the largest private, multi-specialty medical clinics in
Illinois, Springfield Clinic currently employs over 2,000 clinical
and administrative staff members, committed to leadership in
quality, service and technology. For more information, go to
[Text from file received from