Family History of Colorectal Cancer? Don’t Skip Your Screening!

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and our assisted living team in Gloucester County, NJ is raising awareness about this dangerous health condition. Spotting this condition early is critical to early treatment, especially if you have a family history of the disease, ensuring the best chance for a full recovery, which makes regular screenings so important.

Who Should Be Screened for Colorectal Cancer?

  • Everyone over the age of 50 (both men and women) or if you are African American and over the age of 45
  • People with a family history of colorectal cancer or inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s Disease or polyps
  • People experiencing any high-risk symptoms, including persistent stomach pains/cramps, blood in their stool or unexplained weight loss

What is the Screening Process? 

Screening allows doctors to pick up on early signs of colorectal cancer, allowing an effective treatment plan to be developed and implemented as soon as possible. This is critical to preventing polyps from becoming cancer and ensuring that treatment is as effective as possible, saving lives.

Your doctor can recommend several types of screening processes, including:

  • Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT or iFBOT). An inexpensive annual test that can be done at home. If blood is detected in the stool, a colonoscopy will be required for further evaluation.
  • Guaiac Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT).This is similar to the above and will also require a colonoscopy if the test comes back positive for blood.
  • Flexible Sigmoidoscopy. This test is done in a doctor’s office every five years to check for polyps. It is often combined with a stool test. It doesn’t require sedation, but a colonoscopy is required if any warning symptoms are detected.
  • Virtual colonoscopy. Using x-rays and computer technology, doctors can create 2D and 3D colon scans to look for polyps. Although non-invasive and done every three years, it can be more expensive than a colonoscopy and is not covered by all healthcare insurers. A colonoscopy is required if any warning symptoms are detected.
  • Double Contrast Barium Enema. In this procedure, air and barium are pumped into the rectum, causing polyps to show up on x-rays. It is recommended every 5 to 10 years and a colonoscopy is required if any polyps are detected.

Quality Care in an Independent Community with Assisted living in Gloucester County 

Pitman is an assisted living community in Gloucester County, NJ, offering high quality, scalable assisted living services in a comfortable, well-supported and beautiful environment. As part of the United Methodist Communities network, we also offer rehabilitation, access to therapists, Bridges hospice care, respite care and Tapestries® memory care and support services. We welcome seniors from all faith backgrounds.

To find out more about our assisted living community, please visit our website at https://pitman.umcommunities.org/ contact us today or book a personal tour.