COOKEVILLE — Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit more than a year ago, a lot of procedures were paused, including cancer screenings.
The American Cancer Society has early projections indicating that these extensive screening delays will lead not only to missed and advanced stage cancer diagnoses, but also to a rise in cancer-related deaths.
“With a world class cancer center right here at Cookeville Regional Medical Center, screenings can find many cancers early and treat them with the best methods available,” said Paul Korth, CRMC CEO. “Screenings play an important role in detecting cancer and fighting it at its earliest stages, which gives the patient a better outlook on life.”
Data shows that at Cookeville Regional Medical Center, the number of colon cancer screenings has significantly decreased over the past year. Early detection of cancer before symptoms appear has transformed the world of cancer care and continues to have a critical role in the control of cancer types for which screening is available.
“Those at highest risk should have priority access to colonoscopies,” said Cheyenne Henderson, CRMC Cancer Center quality coordinator. “Those who should be given priority include those with abnormal stool-based cancer screens, patients with a family history of adenomas or cancer, patients with inflammatory bowel disease and/or patients with a genetic syndrome that elevates risk for colorectal cancer.”
CRMC offers two types of colon screenings: colonoscopies and stool tests. Individuals will need to talk to their primary care physician to see what is best for them.
CRMC also has an open access program where a healthy individual who falls within guidelines for testing can get the PCP to send their most recent office note to the gastroenterology group who would then call the patient to ask specific questions in order to get scheduled without the need for seeing a GI specialist.
“This helps a lot of people in the area so they will not have to miss work for both the specialist appointment as well as testing,” Henderson said.
The American Cancer Society recommends that people at average risk of colorectal cancer start regular screenings at 45 years of age.
For more information regarding colorectal cancer screenings, call the gastroenterology group at 931-783-2616.
CRMC offers a number of screenings, from lung to breast and more. Visit www.crmchealth.org for more information.
Cookeville Regional Medical Center is celebrating 100 years in 2021. It began as a 15-bed private clinic built by a local surgeon and has grown to a 269 bed Regional Center on a 55-acre campus featuring state-of-the-art Cardiac care, Orthopedic care, Cancer Center, Robotic surgery and much more.