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Join Atrium Health Navicent in Recognizing March as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

The community is invited to join Atrium Health Navicent Peyton Anderson Cancer Center in recognizing March as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Colorectal cancer, a combined term for colon cancer and rectal cancer, is the third most common cause of cancer death in the United States.

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), the lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is 1 in 23 for men and 1 in 26 for women in the U.S. The ACS estimates that in 2023 there will be 106,970 new cases of colon cancer and 46,050 new cases of rectal cancer, leading to 52,550 deaths.

The death rate from colorectal cancer is particularly high in central Georgia. The colorectal cancer death rate in central Georgia is 14.8 deaths per 100,000 people, which is higher than the national average of 13.7 deaths per 100,000 people.

The good news is that cancer can be detected early through screenings.

“Colorectal screening is essential in detecting precancerous, abnormal growths that can be removed before they turn into cancer, allowing us to diagnose cancer early, when it’s easiest to treat,” said Dr. Roxana Coman, an Atrium Health Navicent gastroenterologist.

For individuals of average risk, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening for colorectal cancer starting at age 45 and continuing until age 75. However, you may need to start getting tested before age 45, or more often than other people, if you have inflammatory bowel disease or a family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps.

During this endoscopic procedure, a scope is used to examine a patient’s colon from end to end, looking for any signs of growths or polyps. Polyps can be removed during this procedure to prevent the development of colon cancer.

Here are five facts you may not know about colonoscopies:

1. When your doctor orders a colonoscopy, you’ll receive prep instructions and a special liquid drink to cleanse your digestive system. It is important to follow the instructions so that your colon will be clean and easy to examine.

2. You’ll be in and out in about four hours, and the actual procedure itself only takes about 45 minutes.

3. You won’t feel anything during the procedure due to the administration of IV anesthesia, which also puts you to sleep.

4. When you wake up, you’ll be taken to a private room for recovery. The medical staff will discuss with you the results of your procedure and answer any questions you may have.

5. After fasting for the procedure, you’ll likely be hungry. By the time you are discharged, your digestive system will be functioning normally, and you can immediately resume food and drink.

If you’ve been diagnosed with colorectal cancer, physicians at the Atrium Health Navicent Peyton Anderson Cancer Center are available to provide multidisciplinary, integrated and comprehensive care. Atrium Health Navicent holds accreditation from the National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer (NAPRC), a quality program of the American College of Surgeons, and provides patients with peace of mind that they are receiving the best possible care. The cancer center is the first in Georgia to receive NAPRC accreditation.

For more information about screenings for colon cancer, or to find a doctor, please visit

About Atrium Health Navicent

Atrium Health Navicent is the leading provider of health care in central and south Georgia and is committed to its mission of elevating health and wellbeing through compassionate care. Atrium Health Navicent is part of Advocate Health, which is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is the fifth-largest nonprofit health system in the United States, created from the combination of Atrium Health and Advocate Aurora Health. Atrium Health Navicent provides high-quality, personalized care in 53 specialties at more than 50 facilities throughout the region. As part of the largest, integrated, nonprofit health system in the Southeast, it is also able to tap into some of the nation’s leading medical experts and specialists with Atrium Health, allowing it to provide the best care close to home – including advanced innovations in virtual medicine and care. Throughout its 125-year history in the community, Atrium Health Navicent has remained dedicated to enhancing health and wellness for individuals throughout the region through nationally recognized quality care, community health initiatives and collaborative partnerships. It is also one of the leading teaching hospitals in the region, helping to ensure viability for rural health care for the next generation. For more information, please visit