May is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Dr. (Capt.) Azfar Syed, Patch Clinic, discusses a routine colorectal cancer screening with patient Constance. The anxiety before a screening is worse than the actual event. Photo by Staff Sgt. Diana Anderson, U.S. Army Health Clinic-Stuttgart

By Lt. Col.  Lisa M. Dennis
Executive Officer
U.S. Army Health Clinic-Stuttgart

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the U.S. and the second leading cause of death from cancer. National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month is intended to remind us about the importance of being screened.

This particular type of cancer affects men and women equally, people of all racial and ethnic groups, and is most often found in people over the age of 50.

Stuttgart Army Health Clinic reminds the community that the best way to prevent colorectal cancer is to get screened regularly starting at age 50.

“Often there are no signs or symptoms of colorectal cancer; that is why it is so important to get screened,” said Dr. Gabriele Vinar, Primary Care Provider at Kelley Clinic “Starting at age 50, or sooner if you have a family history, you have the highest risk of this cancer, completing a colonoscopy for screening is simple.”

Many patients are hesitant or unsure of what to expect during a colonoscopy. A patient who recently completed their screening said, “I was a little worried about the procedure, especially the prep required, but the doctor and the staff were very nice, they made me feel at ease, and the test was over rather quickly. I learned that the thought of it is much worse than the test.  Now that I have completed the screening, I have peace of mind.”

Talk to your provider about colorectal cancer screenings or ask for a referral through your Relay Health secure messaging.

Recently, a patient named Constance underwent a routine screening, and was reviewed by Dr. (Capt.) Azfar Syed, one of the providers at the Patch clinic.

“The routine screening is important, because early detection of any concerning issues can be addressed to stave off the possible development of some more serious, life changing, conditions,” Constance said.  “Having a routine procedure done on my schedule, is a whole lot easier than having to face something worse that could take away part of the quality of life later on.  And those bigger matters could affect a family’s life, as well.  So, cowboy and cowgirl-up and get your screening done early.”

Prevention is the best cure

Everyone can take these healthy steps to help prevent colorectal cancer:

  • Encourage your family members over age 50 to get screened.
  • Quit smoking and avoid second hand smoke.
  • Get plenty of physical activity and try to eat healthy.
  • Get screened starting at age 50:  talk to your primary care provider today for information on screening and how to obtain a referral for a colonoscopy.