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Johns Creek community urged to get routine colonoscopy screenings

December 31, 2013
According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the third leading cause of cancer death in the United States. It is also the third most common cancer diagnosed at Emory Johns Creek Hospital, and the number of cases diagnosed at Emory Johns Creek has increased each year since 2007.

It is well known that the earlier physicians can diagnose cancer, the better the chance for successful treatment. The Cancer Committee at Emory Johns Creek reviewed data on colon cancers diagnosed at the hospital and found that 52 percent were detected in stages III or IV. According to the National Cancer Database (NCDB), the national average is about 39 percent.

According to a statement by the Emory Johns Creek Cancer Committee, cancer becomes more difficult to treat in later stages because it has often spread into the lymph nodes and into other organs. Surgical removal is often more complicated and involved and additional treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation.

In earlier stages, the cancer is usually confined to the colon and surgical treatment usually only requires removal of the tumor, the committee's report explains. Its findings show that that at Emory Johns Creek Hospital, about 45 percent of patients can be treated with surgery alone, compared to 58 percent nationally. For the Johns Creek community, this highlights the importance of getting colonoscopy screenings to ensure that any diagnosis is made at the earliest possible stage.

The American Cancer Society recommends both men and women should begin getting colonoscopy screenings at age 50, but individuals who have had polyps, a family history of colorectal cancer or those who have suffered from inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, may need to begin screenings earlier. Individuals should speak to their physicians about when it's appropriate to begin screenings.

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