It’s important to have a conversation with your primary care doctor about your screening preferences and what will work for you, because you have options.Audrey H. Calderwood, MD
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. but is largely preventable with proper screening. What is proper screening? Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center (NCCC) gastroenterologist Audrey H. Calderwood, MD, explains what you need to know about screening for this cancer.
In her presentation from “Cancer Screening Recommendations & Updates 2021,” Calderwood provides an overview of colorectal cancer, including how it forms in the colon and its symptoms, explains why screening is effective for prevention and clarifies what screening means—who should be screened, how to be screened and how often. She also answers questions about lifestyle habits and factors related to colorectal cancer, as well as steps that can be taken to reduce risk.
The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recently updated screening guidelines for colorectal cancer, which Calderwood highlights here. Notably, updates include lowering the age at which it’s recommended to begin regular colorectal cancer screening from 50 to 45 due to an increase in the prevalence of this cancer in this younger age group.
Calderwood also discusses several options to consider for colorectal cancer screening based on individual preference. Options include stool-based tests that can be done at home and mailed to a laboratory, as well as procedures done in the clinic such as colonoscopy.
“I hope this information helps you make an informed choice or helps you educate your family and community on the importance of colon cancer screening,” says Calderwood. “It’s important to have a conversation with your primary care doctor about your screening preferences and what will work for you, because you have options.”
The Thriving Thursday Cancer Survivorship Program is a collaboration between Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center and the American Cancer Society.