Submitted by CHI Franciscan Health
CHI Franciscan Health is recognizing Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, part of its Northwest Healthy initiative focused on health and wellness, by educating the public about colorectal cancer prevention and reinforcing the importance of recommended screenings as a preventive measure. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths that affect men and women in Washington state, and the third most common cancer in the United States. With screening locations and cancer treatment centers throughout the Puget Sound area, CHI Franciscan provides expert access to a full continuum of care, from screening and diagnosis through treatment and follow-up.
“Colorectal cancer is highly preventable by getting screened regularly starting at age 50, or sooner if there is a family history of the disease or risk factors,” said Shalini R Kanneganti, MD, FACS, FASCRS, who is a fellowship-trained surgeon specializing in treatment of colon and rectal diseases for CHI Franciscan Health. “Screening tests are critical because they not only detect colon cancer early, but also prevent new cases by removing the pre-cancerous polyps during the screening exam. Throughout the month of March, CHI Franciscan Health will continue to communicate with patients and families on the importance of screenings.”
Because early-stage colorectal cancer often has no symptoms until it is advanced, the American Cancer Society recommends regular colon cancer screening (colonoscopy) for most people starting at age 50.
Colonoscopies provide an accurate picture of what is happening inside the colon, helping to the limit the risk of a person ever dying from colon cancer. It’s one of the few screening modalities that can remove a lesion before it becomes cancer. Colorectal cancer, if found early before it has spread, can be treated successfully in nine out of ten people. People with a family history of the disease or who have certain other risk factors should talk with their doctor about beginning screening at a younger age. Several different tests can be used to screen for colon cancer.
“Most early stage colorectal cancer does not produce symptoms. Only as the disease progresses do patients develop symptoms,” Dr. Kanneganti added. “Early screening and detection can save lives. Our goal is to catch the disease early and successfully treat the patient with a multi-disciplinary team approach, so we can give them their life back.”
Alan Roberts, police lieutenant with the Tacoma Police Department, had no symptoms of colon cancer. But after a softball injury, his doctor recommended a colonoscopy where a large tumor was found. He was diagnosed with colon cancer and Dr. Kanneganti performed surgery within a few days. “Signs come in different ways, mine was a softball and I could have ignored it and I didn’t,” said Roberts. “Early detection saved my life. Thanks to Dr. Kanneganti and the entire team at CHI Franciscan Health, I am now cancer free and back to work serving my community.”
CHI Franciscan Health’s board-certified and fellowship-trained colorectal cancer surgeons take a multidisciplinary team approach to treating colon and rectal cancers. Learn more about CHI Franciscan’s screening locations, colorectal cancer program and treatment locations.
Colorectal Cancer in Washington State:
- Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths that affect men and women.
- It is the fourth most commonly diagnosed type of cancer in Washington state.
- In 2018, it is estimated that there will be 2,710 new cases of colorectal cancer, resulting in an estimated 970 deaths in Washington state.
Colorectal Cancer in the United States:
- Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in both men and women in the United States, and the third leading cause of cancer death.
- This year it is estimated there will be about 140,250 new cases of colorectal cancer in the country leading to approximately 50,630 deaths.
- The lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is about 1 in 22 (4.49%) for men and 1 in 24 (4.15%) for women.
- It’s estimated that more than half of all cases could be prevented by regular colonoscopy screening.
CHI Franciscan Health is a nonprofit health system based in Tacoma, Washington with $2.6 billion in net revenue and a team of more than 12,000 doctors, nurses and staff that provide expert, compassionate medical care at nine acute care hospitals and approximately 200 primary and specialty care clinics in Pierce, King and Kitsap counties. This includes St. Anthony Hospital, Gig Harbor; St. Clare Hospital, Lakewood; St. Elizabeth Hospital, Enumclaw; St. Francis Hospital, Federal Way; St. Joseph Medical Center, Tacoma; Harrison Medical Center, Bremerton and Silverdale; Highline Medical Center, Burien; and Regional Hospital, Burien. Started in 1891 by the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, today CHI Franciscan Health is one of the largest health systems in Washington state. The system spans more than 1,100 acute care beds, a credentialed medical staff of more than 1,500 including more than 800 employed physicians providing specialties in cardiovascular care, cancer care, orthopedics and sports medicine, neurosciences and women’s care. CHI Franciscan’s mission focuses on creating healthier communities, including caring for the poor and underserved. In 2017, the organization provided $188 million in community benefit, including $20 million in charity care.