Colorectal Cancer: Beatable, Treatable and Preventable

Colorectal cancer is beatable, treatable and preventable.  The LifeBridge Health Integrated Network Cancer Program (INCP) Cancer Committee has had a focus on colorectal cancer among many standards of care in 2019.  Those specific projects were led by Dr. Josh Wolf, who is a board-certified colorectal surgeon at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore and included:

  • an overall cancer program goal that compared current rectal cancer surgery practice with national rectal program accreditation standards to identify gaps in current practice
  • An educational lecture for multidisciplinary LifeBridge Health staff related to colorectal cancer
  • A case review of all patients seen in 2018 to ensure colorectal patients treated at LifeBridge received care in accordance with national treatment guidelines for colorectal cancer
  • Colorectal Cancer Prevention Events planned for the public (included radio interviews, Facebook Lives, and in-person prevention events at Sinai, Northwest and Carroll Hospitals). These events started in March 2019.
    • 18 people attended the event at Sinai Hospital
    • 8 people attended the event at Northwest Hospital
    • 12 people attended the event at Carroll Hospital

Dr. Wolf stresses the importance of early and regular colorectal cancer screening.  Below is a summary of colorectal cancer screening guidelines from the American Cancer Society (ACS).

Screening for people at average risk*

  • Start regular screening at age 45 (new qualified recommendation from the ACS). This can be done either with a stool test or a colonoscopy. People who are in good health should continue regular colorectal cancer screening through the age of 75.
  • For people ages 76 through 85, the decision to be screened should be based on a person’s preferences, life expectancy, overall health, and prior screening history.
  • People over age 85 no longer should get colorectal cancer screening.

*For screening, people are considered to be at average risk if they do not have a personal history of colorectal cancer or certain types of polyps, family history of colorectal cancer, personal history of ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, confirmed/suspected hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome, such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or Lynch syndrome, and/or personal history of getting radiation to the abdomen (belly) or pelvic area to treat a prior cancer

Screening for people at increased or high risk

People at increased or high risk might need to start colorectal cancer screening before age 45, be screened more often, or get more specific tests.  This includes people with:

  • A personal history of certain types of polyps, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, prior colorectal cancer, and/or radiation to the stomach or pelvic area to treat a prior cancer
  • A family history of colorectal cancer or certain types of polyps
  • A known family history of a hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or Lynch syndrome (also known as hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer or HNPCC)

Visit the American Cancer Society website for more information on colorectal cancer screening.

To schedule an appointment with a LifeBridge primary care physician or gastroenterologist, call 410-601-WELL (9355).