The latest report on colon cancer is a sign of good news, but more still
needs to be done to increase screening rates in southern states, such
as Louisiana. Colorectal cancer currently ranks third among cancers as
a killer of American men and women, according to the
American Cancer Society (ACS).
The rate of adults in the United States developing and dying from colorectal
cancer has decreased, according to a new Vital Signs report released last
week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Due to increased
screenings, decline in risk factors and improvements in treatment, the
prevalence colon cancer decreased 13 percent, and the death rate declined
12 percent between 2003 and 2007 the report said. That means about 66,000
cases and 32,000 deaths were prevented.
Colorectal cancer screening increased overall from 52 percent in 2002 to
65 percent in 2010. Still, about 1 in 3 people between the ages of 50
and 75 are not up to date with recommended colorectal cancer screening.
Increasing screenings to 70.5 percent by 2020 would save an additional
1,000 lives each year, the CDC said.
“Many people are still not getting screened,” said
Dr. Mark Hebert, General Surgeon at Thibodaux Regional Health System. “Earlier
detection greatly improves the chances of being cured.”
The report screening is lower and the proportion of late-stage colorectal
cases higher in Southern states, compared with other regions.
Many people are uncomfortable getting a screening when they feel healthy,”
said Dr. Hebert. “Early detection is important, and colon cancer
screening can identify abnormal growths and we can remove them before
they turn into cancer.”
Although Louisiana ranks as one of the highest mortality rates in the nation,
Thibodaux Regional’s cancer survival rates exceed national norms
for breast, prostate, colon and lung cancer, the four most prevalent forms
of cancer in our region.
With leading-edge technology and use of the best clinical protocols available,
patients at Thibodaux Regional Health System have much higher five-year
survival rates than the national average. According to the National Cancer
Institute SEER data, colon cancer survival rates are 80 percent compared
to 65 percent nationally.
These numbers are largely due to the extra measures taken by staff members
at the Cancer Center of Thibodaux Regional to ensure patients receive
the individualized care they deserve.
The CDC recommends that everyone age 50-75 and younger adults who are at
high risk for the disease get screened for colon cancer. Acceptable screening
- A test for blood in the stool (called at fecal occult blood test, or FOBT)
that is done at home every year.
- A flexible sigmoidoscopy done by a health care provider every five years
combined with a FOBT every three years.
- A colonoscopy performed every 10 years.
For more information about cancer services at Thibodaux Regional or how
to schedule your colonoscopy, call (985) 493-4700.
About Thibodaux Regional Health System
Thibodaux Regional Health System, a 185-bed acute care facility, provides
inpatient and outpatient care for the people of Lafourche and seven surrounding
parishes. Highly specialized services offered include Heart Surgery, Medical
and Radiation Oncology, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Orthopedic Surgery, Sports
Medicine, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, General, Laparoscopic, and
Bariatric Surgery, Pulmonology, Rheumatology, Women’s Services,
Sleep Disorders, Behavioral Health, and Inpatient and Outpatient Physical
Nationally recognized for quality care and service, Thibodaux Regional
has been named a Distinguished Hospital by J.D. Power and Associates and
has been honored with the Press Ganey Summit Award for high levels of
patient satisfaction. In 2009, Thibodaux Regional received the Outstanding
Achievement Award from the American College of Surgeons Commission on
Cancer for the second time and is the only hospital in Louisiana to do so.