Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second-leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States, with approximately 150,000 new cases and 50,000 deaths each year.

Most colorectal cancers develop from abnormal tissue growths called polyps, and more specifically, from a type of polyp known as adenomas.

Screening allows cancers to be found earlier, when the disease is easier to cure. Perhaps even more importantly, most cases can be completely prevented if pre-cancerous adenomas are detected and removed before they become malignant, making colonoscopy an important tool in the fight against colorectal cancer.

Guidelines recommend having the first colonoscopy performed around 50 years of age for patients with average risk of colorectal cancer, but advise starting at an earlier age for higher-risk patients, such as those with a family history of colorectal cancer.

Screening exams are generally repeated every 10 years, but if significant adenomas or other abnormalities are found during the exam, patients are advised to return sooner for follow up – or “surveillance” – colonoscopies.

Other methods for colorectal cancer screening are available, such as stool testing, capsule endoscopy and CT colonography. However, if any abnormality is detected, the patient must be referred for a colonoscopy in order to have a direct look at the colon and to remove any lesions and have them evaluated by a pathologist.

When these patients are referred for a diagnostic colonoscopy, it is especially important to perform the most sensitive exam possible, and use of the Third Eye Panoramic device offers that capability.

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