Screening for cancer with colonoscopy is an essential element of cancer prevention, says St. Clair Hospital’s Scott Holekamp, M.D., a board-certified colorectal surgeon. Colon and rectal cancer are often asymptomatic until the advanced stages, he says. “Colonoscopy is the gold standard. It remains the best tool for colon cancer screening because we can directly examine the colon and rectum, and we can treat polyps before they become cancer. Colonoscopy has improved; the prep, the hardest part, is easier today. Colonoscopy enables colorectal surgeons to find and remove polyps, pre-cancerous growths and to find colon and rectal cancer in its earliest stages.”
At St. Clair, Dr. Holekamp and his partner, Leigh H. Nadler, M.D., offer comprehensive screening, diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancer, including the most advanced new therapies and less invasive surgeries.
South Hills resident Stacy Hurt is a survivor of Stage 4 colorectal cancer, and she has devoted herself to helping others avoid the ordeal of cancer treatment that she endured. Stacy advocates for colorectal cancer screening as Strategic Partnership Manager for the Colorectal Cancer Coalition. “Colonoscopy saves lives,” Stacy says. “It’s the essential cancer screening test that is the key to the prevention and early detection of colorectal cancer.”
Recently, the American Cancer Society changed the recommendation for starting colon cancer screening from age 50 to 45, due to an increasing incidence of colon cancer among younger people. “Colorectal cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers among Americans. One in 24 women and 1 in 22 men will get colorectal cancer in their lifetime; in 2019, 51,000 people will die of colon cancer,” Dr. Holekamp says. “When it is caught early, with colonoscopy, we can cure colorectal cancer 90 percent of the time. The best way to reduce your risk is to get a colonoscopy.”
To contact Drs. Holekamp and Nadler, please call 412-572-6192