SPOKANE, Wash. – There is a good chance you or someone you know has visited a CHAS clinic in Spokane.
However, you may not know about the organization’s recent push to screen more patients for colon cancer.
“We went from 8.5% screening rate up to 33% last month,” said Dr. William Lockwood, the Chief Clinical Officer for CHAS.
Lockwood said the motive behind the push is simple. The more people get screened, fewer will die from colon cancer.
“If people got screened as recommended, we’d be finding it before it even becomes cancer or in very early stages of cancer and then it’s easily treatable,” said Lockwood.
According to the American Cancer Society, when skin cancer is taken out of the situation, colon cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in men and women in the United States.
The organization estimates there will be more than 95% new colon cancer cases this year.
“Once you turn 50, your chance of developing colon cancer goes up tremendously,” said Lockwood.
Lockwood said it is why, if you are of average risk, you need to get screened starting at 50.
Dr. Lockwood said now more than ever, there are options beyond a colonoscopy.
Among them is an Immunochemical Fecal Occult Blood Test or FIT test for short. It detects blood in the stool and is non-invasive.
While there are arguments to be made for each method, Lockwood said the most important thing to remember is to choose one and get screened. It could very well save your life.
“If you do nothing and wait until you’re having symptoms, like blood in your stool or weight loss or abdominal pain, and it’s stage four, you have about a 10% chance of a five-year survival,” said Lockwood.
(© 2016 KREM)