South Florida Hospital News
Saturday April 17, 2021
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April 2021 - Volume 17 - Issue 10
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Early Detection of Colorectal Cancer Saves Lives

The pandemic continues to affect the health of everyone, as evidenced by the dramatic drop in all routine screenings and tests.

At Broward Health, colorectal cancer screenings plummeted nearly 60% systemwide from 2019 due in large part to the COVID-19 pandemic. Without the screenings, potentially life-saving diagnoses may be missed that could lead to less favorable long-term outcomes. Diagnosis at a later stage, decreases the rate of survivorship, while treatments work best when colorectal cancer is detected at an early stage. Nine in 10 patients whose colorectal cancers are found early and undergo treatment are still alive five years later.
 
“Colorectal cancer screenings are extremely important because colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in men and women,” said Joseph Corallo, M.D., medical director of the Colorectal Center at Broward Health Coral Springs. “Early detection of colon cancer is critical because your lifetime survival is much higher if it is caught in an early stage, and it may be as high as 90%.”
 
While colorectal cancer affects men and women of all racial and ethnic groups, and most often found in those 50 years or older, significant cancer health disparities among minority populations are also leading to higher rates of colorectal cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer disproportionately affects the Black community. Blacks are nearly 20% more likely to get colorectal cancer and approximately 40% more are likely to die from it than most other groups. When actor Chadwick Boseman passed away at 43, he not only became part of the 40% statistic, he also is part of the younger age group.
 
“It is a concern that more and more younger patients are being diagnosed with colorectal cancers,” said Dr. Corallo. “Again, screenings are obviously key to early detection.”
 
As many as one in 13 adults experience bowel control issues and nearly half of the population has hemorrhoids by age 50. These problems are rarely discussed and may have a dramatic impact on quality of life or could even lead to colon cancer. Many people incorrectly assume they are a normal consequence of aging or are normal health issues for women after childbirth.
 
Broward Health’s colon and rectal specialists are fully trained surgeons with board certification in the surgical and non-surgical treatment of benign and malignant colon and rectal conditions. They are focused on helping patients achieve comfort through accurate diagnosis, specialized treatment and follow-up care. Emphasis is placed on the prevention and early detection of colorectal cancer via screening and surveillance programs. Special attention is given to the family history to assess for a possible genetic-familial component to colorectal cancer and polyps including genetic counseling and testing. 
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