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March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and King’s Daughters is encouraging individuals to get screened. 

“Colon cancer can be prevented,” said KDMC gastroenterologist Arthur Gaing, M.D., who practices at King’s Daughters Medical Specialties in Ashland. “Colon cancer screenings should be viewed as a vital part of routine health maintenance, in the same regard as hypertension, diabetes and cardiac screenings.” 

Scheduling a screening: 

The good news about screenings? A physician referral is not required, most insurance plans cover a screening colonoscopy, and the procedure is nothing like it used to be. Interested individuals may contact offices of any of the six gastroenterologists practicing at KDMC: 

Ashland Gastroenterology

300 St. Christopher Drive, Suite 200, Ashland — (606) 836-9644

Physician: Rajkumar Warrier, M.D.

King’s Daughters Medical Specialties – Gastroenterology

Medical Plaza A, 617 23rd St., Suite 425, Ashland — (606) 327-1760

Physicians: Morris W. Beebe, M.D. (also seeing patients in Olive Hill and Paintsville); Arthur Gaing, M.D. and Garfield Grandison, M.D. 

Tri-State Digestive Disease Associates

Medical Plaza A, 617 23rd St., Suite 11, Ashland — (606) 324-3188

Physicians: Cheryl Bascom, M.D. and Michael Canty, M.D. 

What everyone should know about colorectal cancer 

Colon cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the U.S., and Kentucky has the nation’s third highest death rate for colorectal cancer, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

“Few cancers are as preventable,” said Eva Joseph, King’s Daughters digestive health nurse navigator. “Screening tests find polyps, which can be removed before they turn into cancer. Screening can also find cancer early, when the chance for cure is good.” 

Colon cancer affects both men and women, most often those age 50 or older, said Joseph, adding that one in 17 people will develop colon cancer in their lifetime. Detection of colon cancer or pre-cancerous polyps is achieved through screening techniques such as colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, barium enema or virtual colonoscopy. 

“Only one in three colon cancers are currently being diagnosed at an early, treatable stage,” Joseph said. “It doesn’t have to be this way.” 


  • Colon cancer can start with no symptoms — this means someone can have polyps or colon cancer and not know it.
  • Symptoms to watch for — rectal bleeding, change in bowel frequency, change in stool size, unexplained anemia or weight loss, persistent abdominal pain, constant tiredness and vomiting.
  • Risk factors to consider — inflammatory bowel disease, family history of colon cancer or polyp, diet low in vegetables and fruits, low-fiber, high-fat diet, excessive alcohol use, tobacco use, obesity or inactive lifestyle.
  • Advancing age increases risk — more than 90 percent of colorectal cancers occur in people age 50 or older. However, incidence of colorectal cancer in adults under age 50 has been increasing.
  • Most health insurance plans cover screenings — plans usually help pay for colon cancer screening tests for those over age 50. Many plans also help pay for screening tests for people younger than age 50 who are at increased risk for colon cancer. 

Statistics from The American Cancer Society: 

  • Over 90 percent of those diagnosed when the cancer is still localized to the colon or rectum survive more than five years.
  • Survival rates drop to 69 percent for patients diagnosed when the cancer has spread to the surrounding tissue (regional phase).
  • When cancer spreads to distant sites, only 12 percent of those diagnosed will survive five years. 

What test is right for you? 

Scientific data does not suggest there is a single test best for any one person, Joseph said. Each test has advantages and disadvantages. Discuss with your physician the benefits and potential risks associated with each screening option. Which test you receive will depend on your preferences, your medical condition and resources available for testing and follow up. 

KDMC is a locally controlled, not-for-profit, 465-bed regional referral center, offering comprehensive cardiac, vascular, medical, surgical, maternity, pediatric, rehabilitative, psychiatric, cancer, neurological, pain care, wound care and home care services. For additional information, visit us online at or call 1-888-377-KDMC (5362).

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Saturday, April 13, 2013 4:49 AM
Thanks for sharing

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