Monday, March 25, 2013

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Dr. Fawaz Hakki, a gastroenterologist with Summit Gastroenterology in Waynesboro said that colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable cancers.

"If we can find polyps early before they become cancerous, we can remove them and reduce the risk of cancer developing in the colon," Dr. Hakki said.

Dr. Hakki said the best method of preventing colon cancer is getting your regular screening colonoscopies.

"At age 50, we should all start making appointments for a colonoscopy," Dr. Hakki explained. "A gastroenterologist will do the test and remove any suspicious polyps. If everything looks healthy, your next follow up test will be in 10 years."

Dr. Hakki did note that people with a sibling or parent with a history of colon cancer or precancerous polyps should have their first screening at age 40, or 10 years prior to the age of the relative when he or she was first diagnosed - whichever is earlier.

"Remember, early detection is the best protection," Dr. Hakki stated.

Dr. Hakki also provided several other tips for preventing colon cancer:

  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Don't smoke
  • Reduce radiation exposure
  • Eat plenty of fiber
  • Eat plenty of garlic
  • Limit intake of red and processed meats
  • Avoid excess alcohol consumption

"All of these things can help reduce your risk of colon cancer," Dr. Hakki said. "But, we don't always know why someone gets cancer, so please make sure you are getting your screening colonoscopies. Early detection really is a life saver."

Dr. Hakki practices at Summit Gastroenterology, an affiliate of Summit Health, located inside the Waynesboro Hospital at 501 E. Main St., Waynesboro, Pa.

Call (717) 765-3648 for more information about screening colonoscopies, or to make an appointment.