March is national colorectal cancer awareness month, and for good reason. While colorectal cancer ranks number four on the list of the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States, it ranks number two on the “deadliest cancer” list. These statistics seem frightening, but a great deal of colorectal cancer-caused deaths are due to late detection. Overall, colorectal cancer has a 64 percent survival rate, which climbs to nearly 90 percent when caught early.
Join us in today’s post as we discuss why colorectal cancer is deserving of a month of awareness and how Touchstone Imaging can help.
What is Colorectal Cancer?
Colorectal cancer is a cancer that originates in the colon or the rectum. Most colorectal cancers begin as polyps in the lining of either the colon or the rectum. If these polyps are identified and removed, the cancer is effectively removed. These polyps rarely cause any negative symptoms, which makes them difficult to detect without proactive screening. Cancer cells from the polyps can penetrate through the layers of the colon or rectum and enter the lymph or blood systems where they travel to other body systems (metastasis). It is this metastasis that generally causes symptoms and leads to diagnosis at later stages and results in poorer outcomes.
Diagnostic tests to identify colorectal cancer include fecal occult blood tests, which requires a simple stool sample; colonoscopy, which is a camera scope used to visualize the inside of your colon; and computed tomography (CT) colonography, which is a virtual colonoscopy.
Treatments include removal of polyps, radiation, and chemotherapy, or a combination of treatments, depending on whether or not the cancer has spread, Cancer that is isolated to polyps is relatively easy to remove and results in a 90 percent five-year survival rate.
Improved Outcomes Through Medical Imaging
Recently, other medical imaging modalities have been employed to help aid in the diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancers. These imaging modalities include endorectal ultrasound, CT and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Research has also been done using positron emission tomography (PET) and contrast MRI. Validation of these newer imaging techniques may result in dramatic improvements in the management of patients with colorectal cancer. This is encouraging to the advancement of the diagnosis and treatment of deadly cancers, including colorectal cancer.
How Touchstone Imaging Can Help
Rates of colorectal cancer have been declining approximately 2.7 percent each year over the last 15 years, with death rates declining by 2.5 percent each year. This is great news, but we are convinced that we can help improve these numbers by improving access to quality medical imaging that can help with early diagnosis. At Touchstone Imaging, we are dedicated to providing high-quality medical imaging using the latest technology and equipment, partnered with the nation’s best MRI technologists and radiologists to produce the best images and interpretations.
If you need medical imaging performed to screen for colorectal cancer, trust Touchstone Imaging. Our medical imaging centers are certified by the American College of Radiology and our radiology technologists use state-of-the-art imaging equipment. Find a Touchstone Imaging location near you and schedule your appointment today.
For more information about how medical imaging is improving early detection and diagnosis of colorectal cancer, read these online resources:
Colorectal cancer: Current imaging methods and future perspectives for the diagnosis, staging and therapeutic response evaluation