The month of March is geared towards Colon Cancer awareness and the importance of getting screened.
Colon Cancer is the second leading cause of cancer and cancer deaths in the United States.
With a family history of Colon Cancer, Dr. Michael Goebel always knew he wanted to become a Gastroenterologist.
“It allows us to have long-term meaningful relationships with patients, but also allows me to do procedures where I am able to do great things like prevent cancer,” he explains that if you find Colon Cancer early there is over a 90 percent, five-year survival, but if one finds it late the number will drop significantly.
Mississippi is in the bottom five percent nationally regarding screening rates and doctors, like Goebel at Hattiesburg Clinic look forward to increasing the number by doing different procedures on patients.
“Colonoscopy is how we do that. It’s a quick and painless procedure, it’s less than 30 minutes on average and in doing that we’ve shown to reduce colon cancer by up to 75 percent.”
One of the problems with Colon Cancer is the growth from polyps, which are the pre-cancer cells that form in the Colon.
The polyps don’t show any cancer-like symptoms until they become advanced.
According to Dr. Goebel, the polyps are most commonly seen in patients over the age 50..
“The typical average cancer risk really increases in your 60s to 70s, so we start in your 50’s because we want to get rid of the polyp before they’re an issue,” he says. “In probably 2017 most estimates would say 150,000 people are going to get diagnosed with colon cancer and most of those can be prevented.”
If a polyp is found during a screening by a medical professional, it is removed and sent to a lab for testing.
Mississippi is also the first state to have a state Colon Cancer Awareness license plate to purchase.
If you have any information regarding Colon Cancer or to set up a Colonoscopy screening contact your health physician.