CMH launches colorectal screening program

Community Memorial Hospital in Hamilton and its five family health centers are launching a new initiative, “Protect Your Bottom Line.”

This is a humorous approach on the importance of screening and early detection of colorectal cancer, the second-most common cause of cancer deaths in the United States.

“Colorectal cancer can be deadly, but it is preventable and treatable, if detected early with a colonoscopy.  Our goal is to help people understand the importance of the screening and make it easier for them by alleviating any fear and embarrassment barriers,” says Dennis Blom, fellowship-trained surgeon from CMH Center for Heartburn and Digestive Disorders.

A colonoscopy is a painless, outpatient procedure that takes less than 25 minutes. The procedure tests for and can prevent cancer of the colon.

During the test, a doctor examines the entire lining of the colon with a flexible instrument called a colonoscope that can take biopsies and remove polyps, which are tested. Most polyps are benign.

The American Cancer Society reports more than 148,000 Americans were diagnosed with colorectal cancer last year, and more than 49,000 died from the disease.

Colonoscopies are recommended for everyone over 50, but less than half of all Americans aged 50 or older have had a recent screening test.

People with a family history of colon cancer should begin screenings earlier and tested more frequently.  Embarrassment and discomfort are not reasons to avoid a colonoscopy. Early detection of colorectal cancer is critical.

The removal of pre-cancerous polyps during a colonoscopy can prevent cancer from ever starting, and cancers found early can be treated effectively.

For information or to schedule a colonoscopy at CMH, call 315-684-3117.