Raising Awareness for Colorectal Cancer

Raising Awareness for Colorectal Cancer

Cancer Care
According to colorectal cancer incidence and mortality rates in Delaware, there’s much work to be done in terms of increasing awareness, early detection, screening rates, and community education for this third-most common type of cancer and second-leading cause of cancer death.

“Screening plays an essential role in the early detection of all cancers, especially colorectal cancer,” says Bayhealth Lung and Colorectal Nurse Navigator Trina Turner, MSN, RN-BC, LNC. “Early screening and detection can produce better patient outcomes for the treatment of colorectal cancer. An important part of my role as a nurse navigator is to help schedule cancer screenings for patients and provide follow-up help—whether they have health insurance or not.”

Turner says too many people skip doctor’s visits or their regular screenings because they’re uninsured or underinsured. “Screening for Life is a program designed to help these patients get the care and treatment they need,” she said. “It provides assistance in finding a primary care provider, if needed, and provides payment for cancer screening tests to qualified Delaware adults.”

Bayhealth Colorectal and General Surgeon Assar Rather, MD, FACS, FASCRS, adds that although colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death, it’s completely treatable and preventable in most cases. According to Dr. Rather, risk factors for colorectal cancer include a Western-style diet or one low in fiber, obesity, lack of exercise, smoking, inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis, and a family history.

Dr. Rather recommends people start regular screening at age 50. “Newer research suggests that African Americans should begin regular screening at age 45. Patients with family history of colorectal cancer may need earlier screening. Screening can be done by a gastroenterologist or a colorectal surgeon,” he said.

Visit  Bayhealth.org/Colorectal-Screening to learn more about colorectal cancer screening, including common screening methods. For more about the Screening for Life program, visit HealthyDelaware.org or call 302-744-1040. If you have questions about colorectal cancer prevention and treatment or need help setting up a colorectal cancer screening, call Turner at 302-744-6831.