DDAR Blog

New Guidelines for Screening Colonoscopies

American Cancer Society recommends colon cancer screening at age 45

New guidelines from the American Cancer Society were released today recommending moving up colon cancer screening to age 45 for anyone who is average risk.  Previously, the recommendation was to start age 50 unless there were high risk reasons to start earlier.  However, there has been more colon cancer being seen at young ages.  Recently, a study showed that the same proportion of large polyps were seen in patients between ages 45 and 49 as in those that are 50 and 54.  The proportion of colon cancer deaths were the same in those age groups as well.  Colonoscopy allows us to search precancerous polyps before they develop into cancer.

There are multiple options to get colon cancer screening.  Colonoscopy remains the gold standard where precancerous polyps can be found and removed at the same sitting.  However, stool studies can be used as well including stool studies for DNA or trace blood.  Stool studies need to be performed more frequently than colonoscopy but can be performed at home.  Here at Digestive Disease Associates, we are happy to discuss those options with you, and set you up with the most appropriate test to help prevent this preventable cancer

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/30/well/cancer-group-calls-for-colorectal-cancer-screening-starting-at-age-45.html

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

Among cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Every year over 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer and more than 50,000 people die from it each year.  The risk of getting colorectal cancer increases with age. More than 90% of cases occur in people who are 50 years old or older. Early detection is vital, over 90% of all cases of colon cancer can be prevented with recommended screening. Despite its high incidence, colon cancer continues to be one of the most detectable and most treatable forms of cancer.

 If you’re 50 or older, getting a screening test for colon cancer could save your life. Here’s how:  Colorectal cancer screening tests can find precancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer; so colorectal cancer is prevented.  Screening tests also can find colorectal cancer early, when treatment often leads to a cure.  

Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer:  Pre-cancerous polyps and colorectal cancer don’t always cause symptoms, especially at first.  Symptoms for Colorectal Cancer may include:

●  Blood in or on your stool (bloody bowel movement).        

●  Stomach pain, aches or cramps that do not go away.                          

●  Unexpected weight loss.

These symptoms may be caused by something other than cancer. If you have any of these symptoms, the only way to know what is causing is to see your physician.

Are you at  Increased Risk for Colorectal Cancer; You should begin screening for colorectal cancer soon after turning 50 and then keep getting screened regularly, we recommend every 5 years.  Some people are at a higher risk than others for developing colorectal cancer. Having any of these things may increase your risk:

●  Inflammatory bowel disease.                                             

●  A personal or family history of colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer.      

●  Genetic syndromes, like Lynch syndrome).

If you think you may be at high risk for colorectal cancer, talk to your doctor about when and how often to get tested.

Did You Know:   The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) now requires all health care insurance plans cover preventative services, including colorectal cancer screening for individuals aged 50 or older, without any cost sharing to the patient. What this means for our patients is that 100% of the allowed amount of your screening colonoscopy should be covered by your insurance carrier. This may or may not include the costs of anesthesia services.  Please check with your carrier.  AFLAC and other voluntary benefits programs may pay you from getting a colorectal cancer screening.  Please check with your carrier or employee benefits department. 

Call our office today to schedule your screening colonoscopy! 

https://youtu.be/iFejgBk632o

Increasing Rate of Colon Cancer in Younger Adults

 The American Cancer Society recently announced the results of their study which showed colorectal cancer rates have dramatically increased among younger adults, those born between 1960 and 1980 (Generation X) and those born between 1980’s to 2000’s (Millennials).  According to Rebecca Siegel MPH from the American Cancer Society, “individuals born in 1990 now have double the risk of colon cancer and quadruple the risk of rectal cancer compared to people born around 1950”.

Ms Siegel attributes the increase to unhealthy lifestyle changes, such as the obesity epidemic, sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy diets. Also, younger people are much more likely to be uninsured and to put off having preventative service, such as a screening colonoscopy. The possible appeal of the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare may further exacerbate the problem, with more younger adults potentially becoming uninsured and unscreened.

The American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute still recommend that screening should start at age 50 for average-risk individuals and at age 40 for those with a family history of colon-rectal cancer  or adenomas in a first degree relative. 

Presently, colorectal cancer screening remains on the list of Preventative Health initiatives developed by the Federal Government each year.   Your insurance carrier may not cost shift any portion of their allowed cost (copays, co-insurance or deductibles) for a screening colonoscopy to their subscribers.  If you do not have health insurance, you may be eligible for free screening through the New York State Department of Health. For more information please call 1-866-442-CANCER (2262).

Medical Specialty Group Homes

There are over 60 million people suffering from Gastrointestinal Disorders in the United States today.  Their conditions range from the annoying complaints like constipation, gas or abdominal bloating to the ultra-serious conditions like Crohn’s/IBD, Pancreatitis or Esophageal Cancer. 

A number of “Medical Specialty Group Homes”, more commonly known as “Centers of Excellence” are springing up throughout the country and are now playing a leading role in the care of patients’ with gastrointestinal disease such as Crohns/IBD.  These Model Programs are using a multifaceted approach to treating patients with challenging conditions.  Their focus is patient-centric and their goal is to improve each patient’s quality of life and reducing hospitalizations and readmissions.  Patient’s suffering with Crohn’s disease across the county have a very high 30-day readmission rate.  Some estimates are as high as 18 to 20 percent.  A reduction in the 30 day readmission rate would save millions of dollars each year in the cost of managing Crohn’s in the United States.  

The approach used by these Centers is to bundle a variety of services to compliment your medical management.  Diet management is a key part of their strategy.  They will use Registered Dietician to conduct a comprehensive nutritional assessments which includes diet history, and nutrient analysis and heavy doses of Nutritional education to develop patient-specific goals.  Other complementary services, such as Exercise Physiology, Yoga, other Stress Reduction modalities, etc. are used to develop a wellness plan customized to each patient. 

The physicians at Digestive Disease Associates of Rockland are fully invested in the wellness of their patients.  We will be looking to collaborate with other services to develop a wellness blueprint for our patients with chronic disease.  We are fortunate to have Debbie Caputo NP on board to help co-manage the medical care of many of our chronic patients.  We look forward to more collaborations with community services to add a greater “wellness value” to the care you receive.

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