Colorectal Cancer

Prevention & Early Detection

Excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States.

The American Cancer Society's most recent estimates for the number of colorectal cancer cases in the United States are for 2012:

  • 103,170 new cases of colon cancer 
  • 40,290 new cases of rectal cancer

Overall, the lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is about one in 20 (5.1 percent). This risk is slightly lower in women than in men. Regular screening can often find colorectal cancer early, when it is most likely to be curable. In many cases, screening can also prevent colorectal cancer altogether. This is because some polyps, or growths, can be found and removed before they have the chance to turn into cancer.

Find the polyp, get the cure! The key to colorectal cancer is prevention and early detection. We encourage you to follow the American Cancer Society Screening guidelines listed below.


Colorectal Cancer and Polyps

If you are at average risk of developing colon cancer, you should begin screening at age 50. Both men and women should follow one of these testing schedules:

Tests that find polyps and cancer

  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years*, or
  • Colonoscopy every 10 years, or
  • Double-contrast barium enema every 5 years*, or
  • CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every 5 years*

Tests that primarily find cancer

  • Yearly fecal occult blood test (gFOBT)**, or
  • Yearly fecal immunochemical test (FIT) every year**, or
  • Stool DNA test (sDNA), interval uncertain**

* If the test is positive, a colonoscopy should be done.
** The multiple stool take-home test should be used. One test done by the doctor in the office is not adequate for testing. A colonoscopy should be done if the test is positive.

In a digital rectal examination (DRE), a doctor examines your rectum with a lubricated, gloved finger. Although a DRE is often included as part of a routine physical exam, it is not recommended as a stand-alone test for colorectal cancer. This simple test, which is not usually painful, can detect masses in the anal canal or lower rectum. By itself, however, it is not a good test for detecting colorectal cancer due to its limited reach.

Doctors often find a small amount of stool in the rectum when doing a DRE. However, simply checking stool obtained in this fashion for bleeding with an FOBT or FIT is not an acceptable method of screening for colorectal cancer. Research has shown that this type of stool exam will miss more than 90 prcent of colon abnormalities, including most cancers.

Colonoscopy is recognized as the gold standard of screening tests for colorectal cancer because it examines the entire length of the colon and rectum.


Screening for People at High Risk
If you are at an increased risk or high risk of colorectal cancer, you should begin colorectal cancer screening before age 50 and/or be screened more often.

The following conditions place you at higher than average risk:

  • A personal history of colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps
  • A personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease)
  • A strong family history of colorectal cancer or polyps
  • A known family history of a hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer (HNPCC)

Talk to your doctor about your personal and family history to determine the Screening Schedule that you should follow.


Jupiter Medical Center’s GI Lab
Our state-of-the-art Gastrointestinal Laboratory (GI Lab) offers the advantages of superior gastrointestinal care affiliated with a hospital, in a convenient, specialized facility solely dedicated to the performance of endoscopic and gastrointestinal-related procedures. The GI Lab provides a wide range of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures for digestive disorders, including ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), colon cancer and inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's and ulcerative colitis).

The GI Lab is staffed by experienced professional registered nurses and GI technicians, many of whom are nationally certified. Care is provided before, during and after procedures. The GI Lab staff works closely with your physician and his office to make your visit to the Jupiter Medical Center GI Lab as pleasant and stress free as possible.

You may direct any questions regarding your exam, medications and preparation for a procedure to your physician.

Please contact the GI Lab at (561) 263-4445 for any other questions. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.