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Colon cancer awareness — Healthwatch 16

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and Newswatch 16's Nikki Krize explains who should get screened.

DANVILLE, Pa. — Colon cancer is the most preventable yet least prevented form of cancer. That's according to Geisinger Dr. Cybele Pacheco.

"We're expecting in the year 2022 at least 150,000 more new diagnoses of colon cancer."

Dr. Pacheco is the medical director of quality and innovation for primary care at Geisinger. She says colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., but people who are diagnosed have a 90 percent chance at survival. That's because of colonoscopies and stool-based testing.

"If you've had a history of colonic polyps or a family history of colon cancer, stool-based testing is probably not going to be the best for you. You should have a colonoscopy."

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and this month Geisinger moved its colon cancer screening age from 50 to 45.

"People have some reluctance about getting screened, even if it's stool-based."

Dr. Pacheco says symptoms include changes in bowel habits and any bleeding after a bowel movement.

"Changes in stool caliber, some fluctuations between diarrhea and constipation can be a multitude of disease processes."

The biggest takeaway is that no one should die from colon cancer.

"We have enough screening in place that you can be screened preemptively for this and preventatively so that if something were to be found, it could be treated very easily and in a minimally invasive way," Dr. Pacheco said.

If you are over the age of 45, you should contact your doctor for a colon cancer screening.

Watch more Healthwatch 16 stories on YouTube.  

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