Dr. Ashok Rai, President & Chief Executive Officer
Let’s be honest. Preventive screenings, like mammograms and colonoscopies, have a reputation that’s less than glamorous. But a new report from the American Cancer Society is helping preventive screenings gain a little bit of the fame they deserve.
The report shows that an increase in colonoscopies over the past 10 years has contributed to a 30 percent drop in colon cancer rates. When you take a step back and look at the statistics, it becomes clear what a 30 percent drop really means to our country.
Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer, and third leading cause of cancer deaths of both men and women in the United States. An estimated 50,000 Americans will die from colon cancer in 2014 alone—and without colonoscopies, that number could easily be 30 percent greater, or more.
The drop is largely due to the fact that colon cancer is often preventable. More people are having colonoscopies, and regular colonoscopies can identify and remove pre-cancerous growths, called polyps, before they become an issue. The screening can also identify colon cancer in its early stages, when it’s easiest to treat.
But many people avoid preventive screenings, like colonoscopies, because of their bad reputation. At Prevea Health, we do our best to make the environment and the screening itself comfortable. We also believe that it’s our job as health care providers to educate the public on the true importance of these tests. By supporting education and offering a manageable experience, we save as many lives as possible through early detection and prevention.
One great example of how we support such community education is through our recent support of the Breast Cancer Family Foundation, which was this year’s recipient of the Prevea Runway for Life fundraiser. The family foundation does a lot to educate students on cancer, which is work that quickly caught our attention. As a community, we should stand behind all groups, like this one, which work to improve the health and quality of life in our region through preventive screenings and education.
Education leads to screening. Screening leads to early detection. Early detection leads to better outcomes. Whether it’s a mammogram, colonoscopy, or different preventive screening—we hope you’ll be screened as often as your doctor recommends. And please encourage your friends and family to do the same. If you do, there will be less talk about victims and more talk about cancer survivors in our future.
The findings are published in Colorectal Cancer Statistics, 2014 in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians and its companion piece Colorectal Cancer Facts & Figures 2014-2016.
To follow Dr. Rai on Twitter, follow @preveaceo