As a colorectal surgeon, many of Dr. Khayree Butler’s patients are diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer. He’s a critical part of their treatment and experiences after they’re diagnosed.
From this, one thing is clear: Colorectal cancer is very treatable—IF it’s caught early.
“The good news with colorectal cancer,” Dr. Butler says,” is that we have good treatments for cancer and prevention. The downside is that you have to do the things that allow us to have early detection.”
Colorectal Cancer Screenings
There are 2 types of screenings that can detect cancer early:
- Fecal immunochemical test (FIT) - detects blood in stool, a sign of colorectal cancer
- Colonoscopy - involves a camera that looks for precancerous polyps
Many avoid screenings due to anxiety, particularly about colonoscopies: “People think it will be painful. The reality is that you’re asleep the entire time.”
Patients also worry about colonoscopy preparation, but a new tablet has made things a lot easier.
But the benefits of early screening outweigh the discomforts. If a polyp is identified, it can be removed before it becomes cancerous.
Caught early, the cure rates are incredibly high. According to the American Cancer Society, the 5-year survival rate for cancers that are localized to the colon or rectum is 91%.
When Should You Get Screened?
Everyone should start getting screened for colorectal cancer at age 45. However, in some cases you should start earlier. Talk to your doctor:
- If you have a family history of colorectal cancer or colon polyps
- You have a family history of ovarian, gastric or breast cancer (these are linked to colorectal cancer)
- You have blood in your stool, or persistent changes in bowel habits, abdominal pain or lumps (these could be a sign of cancer)
Although it’s an awkward topic, Dr. Butler encourages people to talk about it to raise awareness, reduce stigma, and encourage screening.
“Talk to your doctor, talk to your family about this. Ask about polyps after their colonoscopy. People don’t volunteer this information to others, but it’s important to have these conversations.”
“It doesn’t matter how healthy you think you are,” he says. “If you have a colon, you need to get screened.”
Schedule a Screening Today
Talk to your doctor, or call us at 503-988-5558.Discover the facts about colorectal cancer screening»