Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States and is estimated to be the cause of 52,550 deaths in 2023¹. While the death rate is still high, it has been reduced in recent years due to colon cancer screening and marking of polyps in the Gastrointestinal tract. The American Cancer Society recommends the initial colon cancer screening at age 45, for men and women at average risk for developing colorectal cancer.
“Colorectal cancer screening means getting checked even if you have no symptoms. Screening can prevent cancer by detecting and removing precancerous lesions called polyps. Screening can also detect early colorectal cancers before they have produced symptoms and before they have spread, leading to an improved chance of survival. If you’re 45 years or older, talk to your doctor about getting screened for colorectal cancer. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, you may need to start screening at an even younger age.”
– Dr. Douglas Rex Director of Endoscopy at Indiana University Hospital in Indianapolis, IN
When a patient goes in for a colonoscopy, the Gastroenterologist or Colorectal Surgeon is looking for any abnormality in the colon. If cancerous lesions or polyps are found and need to be marked for surgical localization or clinical surveillance, the physician will tattoo the colon appropriately. Marking a cancer identified during a colonoscopy will help the surgeon locate and remove the cancer in an efficient and effective manner. Even if a lesion looks like it will be easy to find later, the anatomy of the bowel can create imprecise measurements for procedure reports, so it is recommended that all suspicious lesions be tattooed. Endoscopic tattooing provides the only definitive, way a clinician can be sure they are following the same disease over a patient’s lifetime.
If the screening colonoscopy revealed a larger or more complex polyp or lesion, the patient will generally be referred to an Interventional Gastroenterologist to perform a polypectomy, an Endoscopic Mucosal Resection (EMR) or an Endoscopic Submucosal Dissection (ESD). A submucosal lifting agent can be used to help physicians safely and effectively remove the lesion by lifting the polyp prior to excision.
Since colorectal cancer can develop over 10-15 years before any symptoms, screening has emerged as an effective way to reduce deaths. With early colon cancer detection, the five-year survival rate is 91%¹, making it the number one way to detect colorectal cancer. ² Help spread the word and continue the conversation during National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.
Learn more about how Spot® Ex and EverLift® can help in the fight against colon cancer.
135875 – 0 2/23