Good Samaritan Promoting Screenings During National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Prevention is key to fighting colon cancer and Good Samaritan encourages the community to take advantage of colorectal cancer screenings throughout March, National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), among cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Beginning at the age of 45, regular screening is the best way to prevent colorectal cancer.

The exact cause of colorectal cancer is unknown; however, prevention and early detection are important because most colorectal cancers develop from polyps. Early detection tests for colorectal cancer can help find polyps, which can be easily removed, thereby lowering a person’s cancer risk.

“There is robust scientific evidence that shows most cases of colon cancer are preventable when patients have colonoscopies,” said Good Samaritan Gastroenterologist, Dr. Oluwagbenga Serrano. “I believe patients are hesitant to have colonoscopies because they fear it will be painful. In most cases there is no pain and the patients are under general anesthesia. A routine colonoscopy where no polyps or abnormalities are found can be performed in as little as 20 minutes.”

Before a colonoscopy, patients are asked to drink bowel cleansers the day before their exam. This is the part that most people find unpleasant, but it is temporary and a vital part of the preparation process. During a colonoscopy, the physician uses a long, flexible tubular instrument with a camera that transmits an image of the lining of the colon to see any abnormalities.

“I encourage everyone to not delay getting their colonoscopy because of the COVID pandemic,” added Dr. Serrano. “If patients do not have COVID and are not in quarantine, now is the time to schedule their colonoscopy to ensure early detection of colon cancer. We always follow CDC guidelines and practice safe colonoscopy procedures, especially now during the pandemic.”

In addition to yearly colonoscopies, Good Samaritan Community Health Services encourages community members to pick up free colorectal cancer take home screening kits on March 10 at Goodwill located at 1540 Willow Street in Vincennes from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for adults 50 and older.

Patients who would like to have more information about colonoscopies and would like to schedule an appointment will need to contact their primary care provider. Those who do not have a provider can call Good Samaritan’s Find A Provider hotline at 812-885-8500 or visit gshvin.org/findaprovider.

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