Colon Cancer - Silent Killer

Give Yourself the Gift of Life

Here’s a simple but startling fact: the majority of deaths from colorectal cancer could be prevented if every adult age 50 or older got tested. Sadly, that message falls on deaf ears for millions of us.

Why? Probably because we don’t like to think about something as depressing as colon cancer, and also because the simplest preventative procedure — a colonoscopy — is widely considered to be pretty “yucky.”

So here’s another simple fact: all adults are at risk for colorectal cancer — even those who live healthy lives. So if you’re over 50 — or turning 50 this year — consider these smart preventative steps for 2015:

  1. Have your doctor schedule a screening colonoscopy. If you don’t do anything else, do this.

  2. If you have personal risk factors such as colorectal cancer or adenoma polyps detected in a first-degree relative before age 60, begin screening sooner (typically at age 40).

  3. Continue a colonoscopy every 10 years.

  4. If you have had a polyp detected and removed, get screening colonoscopies every 3-5 years.

  5. If you are experiencing bleeding, a change in the frequency and characteristics of your bowel movements, abdominal pain or unexplained fatigue, cramping or weight loss, see your doctor as soon as possible.

  6. Adopt a mostly plant-based diet, stay physically active, don’t smoke tobacco, maintain a healthy weight, and limit processed grains and alcohol (no more than 2 drinks per day).

Schedule a colonoscopy with a board certified gastroenterologist. And when you schedule a colonoscopy, be sure to ask the practice about their “adenoma detection rate.” It’s a measure of how many polyps they detect during the average procedure. A higher “ADR” is better, because it means that practice has expertise in detecting and removing the kinds of polyps that can be more difficult to spot. And that can mean a greatly reduced likelihood of colon cancer. For example, the ADR at Gastroenterology of Southern Indiana is the best in the region — twice the national average and on a par with the Mayo Clinic.

But no matter where you choose to go, the biggest step is simply to get it done. You and your family will be glad you did.

Dr. James C. Strobel MD
Gastroenterology of Southern Indiana

Dr. Strobel joined GSI in July of 1997. He received his undergraduate degree from Indiana University in Bloomington, and his medical degree from Indiana University in Indianapolis. Following this, Dr. Strobel completed his residency in Internal Medicine, and after three years of additional training, completed his fellowship in Gastroenterology at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Dr. Strobel is board certified in both Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology. He is married and the proud father of three children. In his free time, he enjoys basketball, baseball, reading, and spending time with his family.

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