Today, screening for colorectal cancer is more important than ever. In general, a person’s lifetime risk for developing this type of cancer is about 1 in 25. That risk increases to more than 1 in 10 if someone has a family history. However, the incidence of colorectal cancer has been increasing over the last decade. Screening can detect cancer earlier and prevent certain colorectal cancer by removing premalignant polyps before they develop into cancer.
Tianming Liu, MD, colorectal surgeon at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group and affiliated with Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center in The Woodlands, values having an immediate positive impact on patients with a broad spectrum of digestive health issues. He shared the importance of screening and his approach to patient care.
Genetic Testing and Colorectal Cancer
"Five to ten percent of colorectal cancers are inherited. Several genetic tests are available, and new tests are being developed," explained Dr. Liu. "Not only does genetic testing improve risk management and treatment for patients, but it also provides information for a family member to understand their risk for cancer. The Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center has a team of experts who specializes in genetic counseling."
Dr. Liu reflected on a patient whose family history made him a good candidate for this kind of genetic testing.
"I had a patient in his late-thirties diagnosed with colon cancer after he had an episode of profuse rectal bleeding. Because of his age and family history of cancer, he was screened and tested positive for Lynch syndrome, one of the most common inherited colorectal cancers. Because of the test result, his other family members were able to benefit from the information and receive proper screening for cancer."
Leading-Edge Care Through an Innovative Partnership
If a patient is diagnosed with colorectal cancer, the treatment they receive can make all the difference. Access to the latest clinical trials and research provides a key pathway to navigate safely through the cancer journey.
"The ability of my patients to access the research at the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center is extremely valuable. Not only are there more resources to navigate cancer treatment, but also the opportunity to participate in national cancer clinical trials," said Dr. Liu.
Additionally, a collaborative medical environment creates the right space for this healing to happen.
"We work as a cohesive team, and everyone makes an impact in a patient-centered care environment," said Dr. Liu. "The physicians work together and offer more treatment options in a multidisciplinary fashion. The nurses and staff go above and beyond to sort through logistical challenges and anticipate patient needs in the clinic."
The American Cancer Society and the American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons currently recommend people at average risk for colorectal cancer begin screening at age 45. To learn what’s recommended based on your health and family history, schedule a visit with our team today.
If you or someone you know faces a cancer diagnosis or is at increased risk for developing cancer, you can trust in our team of specialists. With nationally accredited cancer care, leading research, and innovative treatment options, our team at the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at The Woodlands Hospital combines precision medicine with compassion. That’s humanity in cancer care.