SALISBURY, Md. - March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness month, which means doctors recommend everyone over the age of 50 should get a colonoscopy screening.
It might seem invasive, but experts say it's a small price to pay for survival. Thanks to advances in early detection and treatment --- more people can call themselves cancer survivors. Nearly one in 20 Americans over the age of 20 is a cancer survivor. That's according to the National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"We're delighted to have more survivors, " says Dr. Panpit Klug is the Medical Director of the Richard A. Henson Cancer Institute at PRMC in Salisbury. "I think they have a good outlook. They not just come in scared and think, 'This is the death sentence' because they hear people surviving more than they expected."
According to Klug, early detection increases your survival chances. But surviving is much more than just beating the cancer. Joan Daugherty, Executive Director of the Henson Cancer Institute tells WMDT, "Once you've had cancer, you're at a greater risk of reoccurrence. And that often is very frightening to patients."
This is why 12 colorectal cancer patients are now taking part in the Henson Cancer Institutes new Survivorship Program. It helps transition patients back into daily activities and work, while continuing important screenings and checkups. They also provide patients with a nutritionist and a social worker who helps them figure out the cost of care.
Breast, prostate and colorectal cancer are among the most common cancers. And experts say an increase in the number of cancer survivors does not necessarily mean that there are a higher number of cancer cases.