The most critical factor in treating colorectal cancer is early identification. But the challenge is in identifying the disease earlier than most people think – years before the onset of symptoms. In fact, when colon cancer is found, it has usually been there for years. When a tumor is discovered, that patient may have literally been sitting on colon cancer for up to 10 years, drastically reducing the chance of survival.
The Sentara Cancer Network dedicates a tremendous amount of resources and effort to educating the community and encouraging early diagnosis through appropriate colonoscopy screening. This is particularly important in Hampton Roads because Portsmouth, Western Tidewater and Chesapeake have among the highest mortality rates from colorectal cancer in Virginia, well above the Virginia average.
Sentara hosts a variety of community education program to encourage early detection and provide access to colonoscopy screening. In 2010-2011, several Sentara facilities held Colon Cancer Community Awareness events and free screenings. Thanks to the efforts of the Sentara Cancer Network, the 5-year survival rate for colorectal cancer at Sentara is well above the national average published by the National Cancer Data Base.
You can read more about these topics, as well as the accompanying clinical data, in the latest Sentara Cancer Network Annual Report.
2012 Annual Report