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March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month: Here’s what you need to know

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Dr. Brett Van Leer-Greenberg is a GI specialist with Palmetto Primary Care Physicians - Division of Gastroenterology. | Photo provided

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The American Cancer Society estimates that, in 2022, there will be 106,180 new cases of colon cancer + 44,850 new cases of rectal cancer in the US.

In awareness of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, Dr. Brett Van Leer-Greenburg of Palmetto Primary Care Physicians - Division of Gastroenterology is here with all the info you need to help you be proactive about your colorectal health.

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. The American Cancer Society and the American College of Gastroenterology recommend that people start colon cancer screening at age 45.
  2. For screening, people are considered to be at average risk if they do not have:
    • A personal history of colorectal cancer or certain types of polyps
    • A family history of colorectal cancer
    • A personal history of Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis
  3. Earlier Screening may be indicated if you:
    • Have a family history of colon cancer in a first degree relative (read: mother, father, or sibling)
    • Have a family history of advanced adenomas (aka advanced colon polyps)
    • Have a family history of two or more second degree relatives with colon cancer (read: grandparent, aunts, uncles, or cousins)
  4. There are multiple test options available to screen for colon cancer, but colonoscopy is considered the “gold standard” of care. Regular testing can reduce the risk of developing colon cancer up to 75%.

Bottom line: Preventive colorectal screenings — as well as talking with a GI specialist — can help ease those worries and keep you happy + healthy.*

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