March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month. In the United States, colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men and in women, and the second most common cause of cancer deaths when men and women are combined, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). Colon cancer is estimated to cause about 52,980 deaths during 2021.
OSF Little Company of Mary offers colorectal cancer screenings and a screening could save your life. Colon cancer almost always starts with a polyp – a small overgrowth of cells that forms on the lining of the colon or rectum that can potentially transform into cancer. “The good news is that colorectal cancer is treatable,” said Dr. Hurtuk “I collaborate with an expert team of physicians at OSF Little Company of Mary that includes gastroenterologists and radiation oncologists to create a customized treatment plan for every patient diagnosed with colon cancer, all conveniently located under one roof.”
Michael G. Hurtuk, MD, a fellowship-trained colorectal surgeon at OSF Little Company of Mary, urges both men and women to get a colonoscopy starting at age 45 or earlier if there is a family history of colon cancer.
Colon screenings play a significant role in identifying a course of action for people with colon cancer. Advanced diagnostic technology and procedures at OSF HealthCare Little Company of Mary Medical Center allow physicians to tailor treatment options for each individual.
“Colonoscopy is the only screening method where if we find a polyp we can remove it at the same time,” said Michael D’Astice, MD, a gastroenterologist and chair of the Gastroenterology Department at OSF Little Company of Mary. “It’s one of the only screenings that’s also preventive since we can remove polyps before they have a chance to become cancer.”
“A colonoscopy only lasts about 15 to 30 minutes and is the single most effective way to detect colorectal cancer early,” said Dr. Hurtuk. “Testing saves lives by finding polyps before they become cancerous.”
We're ready to make sure you and your family stay healthy. Visit www.osfhealthcare.org/colon-screening and select the area near you to schedule an appointment. You also can take the Colon Cancer Health Risk Assessment tool to learn more.