Colorectal cancer is cancer that starts in either the colon or the rectum. Not counting skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer found in men and women in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. Colorectal cancer is equally as common among men and women. More than 90 percent of all colorectal cancers are found in people who are 50 and older.
But the good news is that, in many cases, colorectal cancer can be prevented and treated if caught early. Colorectal cancer almost always starts with a small growth called a polyp. If the polyp is found early, doctors can remove it and stop colorectal cancer before it starts.
Crozer-Keystone is proud to have a multidisciplinary team of board-certified colorectal surgeons, oncologists and other cancer specialists who have experienced helping men and women fight colorectal cancer.
Why is it important to have a follow-up colonoscopy?
Read more about why these follow-up exams may be crucial to your health.
Gastroenterologists may use a range of tests to diagnose colorectal cancer, including barium enema, flexible sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy. The most common is colonoscopy.
The frequency of colonoscopy screenings can vary with the patient’s age and medical history, but as a general rule colonoscopies are recommended:
- For those with no family history of colon cancer, once every 10 years starting at age 50.
- For those with a family history of colon cancer, once every five years starting at age 40, or 10 years earlier than when their closest first-degree relative was diagnosed with colon cancer.
- For those with inflammatory bowel disease at any age, once every two or three years.
Screening colonoscopy is performed as an outpatient procedure. Crozer-Keystone offers colonoscopy screenings at four locations: Crozer-Chester Medical Center, Delaware County Memorial Hospital, Springfield Hospital and Taylor Hospital. You will be asked to follow some easy preparations on the day before the test. During the test, medication will be administered that will allow you to fall asleep and rest comfortably throughout the procedure.
To make it easier for patients, some Crozer-Keystone physicians offer direct-access scheduling for screening colonoscopies. This means that a separate consultation visit at the physician’s office is not required. To be eligible, patients must be between the ages of 50 and 75, and they must be asymptomatic and in generally good health. All procedures are subject to insurance verification.
To learn more about colonoscopy scheduling or to schedule an appointment, call 1-877-CKHS-GI1 (1-877-254-7441) or use the online Appointment Request Form.
Colorectal cancer can be treated with one of the following modalities, or a combination of these:
- Surgery. Crozer-Keystone’s colorectal surgeons are experienced in a range of minimally invasive procedures to remove cancers from the colon and rectum.
- IMRT: Crozer-Keystone radiation oncologists have treated hundreds of patients with this highly specialized and focused external beam therapy offered at both Crozer-Chester Medical Center and Delaware County Memorial Hospital. After surgery, radiation can kill small areas of cancer that may be missed during surgery. If the size or place of a tumor makes it hard to take it out, radiation may be used before surgery to shrink the tumor.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is sometimes used before surgery to try to shrink the cancer and make surgery easier. It may also be given after surgery because it can increase the survival rate for patients with some stages of colorectal cancer.
- Targeted therapies: Targeted therapies are drugs that attack the parts of cancer cells that make them different from normal cells.