Letter to the Editor
The Garrett County Health Department has joined the American Cancer Society to promote 80% by 2018. The goal of this initiative is that 80% of the eligible population will be screened for colorectal cancer by 2018.
There are clear benefits to early screening in that high risk polyps can be found and removed before they can turn to cancer.
A big issue with colorectal cancer is that it does not usually produce symptoms in its early stages, so you can look healthy, feel fine, and not know there may be a problem. By the time symptoms appear (blood in the stool, pain, change in bowel habits, or abdominal mass), the cancer may have grown enough to spread to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body. By that time it is much harder to treat and to cure.
People ages 50 years and over should be screened for colorectal cancer. Individuals with a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps, people with history of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s colitis), and women with cancer of ovary or endometrium need to start screening before they are 50 years old. Ask your doctor if you should be screened for colorectal cancer.
For more information about colorectal cancer screening for qualifying individuals, please contact the Garrett County Health Department at 301-334-7770 or 301-895-3111.
Judy Sines, RN
Garrett County Health Department