Varun Patel, MD

Varun Patel

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, which provides an opportunity to highlight the importance of screening for this deadly disease. Following national screening guidelines for colorectal cancer (CRC) allows for removal of precancerous polyps and detection of CRC at earlier, more manageable stages.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer type worldwide and the second most common cause of cancer death. The lifetime risk of CRC is similar for men and women, approximately 4 percent (one in 24 people!), which can be reduced to nearly 0 percent with age-appropriate screening. Unfortunately, only two thirds of eligible adults receive appropriate screening. This may be due to many people believing they are not at risk for colorectal cancer, especially if they do not have a family history of the disease. In fact, most patients who are diagnosed with colorectal cancer are the index case (only person in their family).

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