The American Cancer Society has set a goal of 80% of Americans to be screened for colorectal cancer by 2018. That means 417,000 people in Louisiana need to be screened to reach that number. Tulane Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine Dr. Jordan Karlitz says colorectal cancer is a major health issue in Louisiana.
“In Louisiana, there are about 2,200 new cases of colorectal cancer each year and overall colorectal cancer is the 3rd most common cancer and it’s the number 2 cancer killer in the United States.”
March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Louisiana has one of the highest rates of the development and mortality from colorectal cancer. But Karlitz says the Bayou State is on its way to improving that statistic, because more people have health insurance to get screened.
“The expansion of Medicaid has definitely been helpful in getting more people eligible for screening which is really a critical thing for the health of our population here in Louisiana.”
Karlitz says if you notice any changes in your stool or have a history of colorectal cancer, getting screened before the recommended age of 50 could be necessary. He says this cancer can be treated successfully if detected early.
“So this whole screening issue, the key point is that it leads to the prevention of the development of colorectal cancer. That is really the key point here.”