Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday: The importance of detecting colon cancer early

Colonoscopies are typically recommended for adults between the ages of 50 and 75. Doctors say the simple procedure makes a big difference when it comes to detection.

“It allows us to identify colon cancer early which means that it’s potentially curable and definitely more treatable,” said Dr. Erin McLoughlin, an oncologist with Sentara Martha Jefferson Hematology and Medical Oncology Associates.

During a colonoscopy doctors look for polyps.

“The benefits of screening allow us to identify polyps which are precancerous lesions before they develop into cancer and it also allows us to identify earlier cancers which are more treatable,” noted Dr. McLoughlin.

If cancer is found, typically surgery to remove it is step one.

“Treatment for colon cancer typically consists of surgery. And in some cases we do consider chemotherapy after colon cancer surgery,” said Dr. McLoughlin.

At Sentara Martha Jefferson, a team approach is taken to support each individual patient along their journey.

“We have a really great multidisciplinary team that consists of surgeons, medical oncologists, nutritionists, genetic counselors, social work, and all of those are a vital aspect to a patients care in terms of getting the best overall treatment for their colon cancer,” said Dr. McLoughlin.

If you would like more information on this topic, please call 1-800-SENTARA.

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