Board-certified Gastroenterologist Explains Why Colon Cancer Screening Participation Lags Behind That Of Breast Cancer Screening

Hunterdon Medical Center offering new treatment for hemorrhoids

[1] Its a shocking statistic given the success we are having with colorectal cancer screenings and being able to remove precancerous polyps before they turn into cancer. On average, more than 140,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with colorectal cancer annually and over 50,000 die because of this cancer each year. Some of this variance can be attributed to the national breast cancer awareness month campaign starting in 1985, while the colon cancer awareness month campaign was not initiated until 2000. In addition to the 15-year head start, breast cancer has been made more accessible to the medically underserved in the U.S. through programs like the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Both assist with free screenings or matching funds to lower the cost of getting screened for breast cancer. Barriers to Colorectal Screening According to Matthew Eidem, M.D., who is a board-certified gastroenterologist in Plano TX and a member of the largest gastroenterology group (Digestive Health Associates of Texas) in North America, its important to continually stress the importance of health maintenance roles such as colon cancer screening to patients. However, there is several challenges physicians face in getting the colon cancer screening participation rates higher. A few of the challenges are: Patient awareness and education Varying insurance reimbursements rates amongst states in the U.S. Availability of programs to educate and financially assist the medically underserved As physicians we need to increase our patients awareness to practicing preventive health care, especially for diseases like colon cancer, where early detection can literally be the difference between life and death, said Plano TX gastroenterologist Matthew Eidem, MD . Adhering to the screening recommendations of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) can improve a patients prognosis and lead to increased treatment options for people who are diagnosed. Opportunities to Increase Colon Cancer Screening Participation In February 2013, the federal government issued an important clarification on preventive screening benefits under the Affordable Care Act. Patients with private insurance will no longer be liable for cost sharing when a pre-cancerous colon polyp is removed during screening colonoscopy. This ensures colorectal cancer screening is available to privately insured patients at no additional cost, as intended by the new healthcare law.[2] While the specifics of the Affordable Care Act are slowly emerging, this legislation may lead to similar programs developed for breast cancer screening and increase participation rates. In addition to new legislation and needed government programs to assist with increasing colon cancer screening participation rates, there are initiatives in place currently that are leading the way towards this goal. Availability of Open Access Colonoscopy Patient education from primary care physicians Direct patient communications both reminding and educating them on the benefits of getting screened at the suggested AGA guidelines Its hopeful that collectively between the supporters of the Colon Cancer Screening awareness message we can significantly increase participation rates in the U.S., and make awareness of colorectal cancer more main stream. Campaigns such as the CDCs Screen for Life and Colon Cancer Alliances Go Blue are definitely a step in the right direction. However, it will take a combined effort from the medical community, cancer organizations and governmental support to achieve the awareness needed to reduce the death rate of colon cancer in the U.S.

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It is a quick and simple procedure, associated with rapid recovery, no or minimal discomfort and excellent results. Hemorrhoids are a collection of blood vessels in the lower rectum which can be caused by straining, constipation, aging and genetic predisposition. The most common symptoms of hemorrhoid disease are rectal bleeding or prolapse during bowel movement and itching or discomfort. While symptoms alone can have a significant effect on a persons quality of life, advanced hemorrhoid disease may lead to serious complications. At 73, Carolyn Hall of Hampton, has osteoarthritis and suffered for years with hemorrhoids. She tried many over the counter medications that would only provide temporary relief. She sought help from her Gastroenterologist, Stephen Willis, M.D., Advanced Gastroenterology and Nutrition. Willis recommended the HET System. I had the procedure on Feb. 12 at 9 a.m. and was discharged at 10:30 a.m. I felt immediate relief and no pain. I was able to go on with my normal activities and even went to Bible Study that evening, explained Hall.

he has a good point

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