Baptist Health La Grange: Screening for Colon Cancer
Surgeon JEANNINE PERRENOUD, DO, and gastroenterologists STEPHEN OVERSTREET, MD, and SHIELA RHOADS, MD, discuss the importance of removing polyps before they develop into colon cancer.
Screening for Colon Cancer Health Talks Transcript
Jeannine Perrenoud, DO, General Surgery
A colon polyp is basically a little mass. The mucosa of the colon in some people starts to change and when that change happens, a little mass forms. If that mass goes unchecked, it will continue to grow, and the cells will start to change and become cancer. So, we like to remove polyps before they become cancer.
Stephen Overstreet, MD, Gastroenterology
The treatment for colon cancer is most beneficial when the colon cancer stage is early. The best way to diagnose colon cancer is before it starts, which is why the screening programs for colon cancer are so successful.
Shiela Rhoads, MD, Gastroenterology
Our current recommended guidelines include, for average-risk patients, to start screening colonoscopies at the age of 50. If you have a first-degree family member who has had colon cancer or polyps prior to the age of 50, we routinely start you at 40 or 10 years prior to when you were diagnosed.
There are definitely things people can do to decrease their risk — eating less red meat, eating high fiber, not smoking. People who smoke are at a significantly increased risk for polyps and cancer all together. Exercise — the more you move, the more your intestines and colon are going to move. The stool in your colon is toxic, and the longer it sits there, the more chance it can have to irritate your mucosa.
The treatment of early colon cancers is very successful. Over 90 percent of those have no further disease.