RIDGEWOOD, N.J. -- Having a colonoscopy to screen for colorectal cancer isn't anyone’s favorite activity. However, with colorectal cancer ranking as the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States, undergoing the procedure may be one of the smartest things you can do for your overall health.
"It's important for individuals to go for colorectal cancer screenings even if they are not showing any symptoms," said Dr. Mitchell Rubinoff, chair of Gastroenterology at Valley Medical Group. In general, both men and women should begin getting routine colonoscopies at age 50, or at age 45 for African Americans.
"It is best to catch colorectal cancer before you become symptomatic," said Rubinoff. "Doctors can actually prevent cancers from ever developing by removing polyps, and they can cure more patients by diagnosing cancer at an early stage."
Screening tests for colorectal cancer include colonoscopy, virtual colonoscopy and stool tests. "A colonoscopy is an outpatient procedure that is used to detect colon polyps and remove them before they can become cancerous," said Rubinoff. "In a virtual colonoscopy, the physician uses the images from a CT scan to examine a patient’s large intestine (colon) and rectum. Stool tests are used to look for occult blood or other proteins in a patient’s stool that might indicate that a polyp is present."
At The Valley Hospital, having a colonoscopy is easier and more affordable than ever before. Valley-Mount Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Care has launched a Fast-Track Screening Colonoscopy Program which streamlines the whole process, from scheduling the appointment to obtaining prep medicines and undergoing the procedure.
"I encourage anyone who believes they fit the screening criteria listed above to reach out to the Valley Fast-Track Screening Colonoscopy Program," said Rubinoff. "Early detection really does save lives."
Patients who are 50 to 75 years old, or 45 to 75 years old for African-Americans, can self-refer themselves to the Valley Fast-Track Screening Colonoscopy Program. To see if you're a candidate for this program, call 201-389-0808.