Despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Ozarks Community Hospital (OCH) reminds the community that cancer screenings should still remain a priority as it celebrates National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month during the month of March.
Colorectal cancer is the second deadliest cancer in the country for both men and women combined, but it is also a highly preventable disease with screening. At the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, colorectal cancer screenings dropped roughly 90% and diagnoses fell by 32%, according to the Colorectal Cancer Alliance.
“We realize the impact the pandemic has had is significant and OCH is working hard to get our patients caught up on their preventative screenings,” Kristen Ogden, Director of Clinic Quality, said.
There are several different options for colorectal cancer screenings. The “gold standard” is the colonoscopy, which is a simple and easy procedure offered right here in Gravette. Dr. David Tucker, Medical Director and Chief of Staff at OCH, is one of two providers who perform this procedure weekly.
Tucker explained, “Colonoscopies are usually the best option because if there are any pre-cancerous polyps found during the screening, they are removed right then before they turn into cancer. There are also stool based tests, but if any of these tests show abnormalities, a colonoscopy will still need to be performed.”
When it comes to colorectal cancer, the most common symptom is no symptom, which is why it is called the silent killer. Regular screening, beginning at age 45, is the key to early detection and successful treatment.
The good news is that most insurance plans, including Medicare, cover these preventative screenings with no out-of-pocket costs to patients. This year, use the health insurance benefits you are paying for and get screened!
Call the Gravette Clinic at 479-787-5221 to set up your screening today!
Ozarks Community Hospital is a bi-state safety-net healthcare provider headquartered in Gravette, Arkansas serving both urban and rural communities throughout the Ozarks. Our hospital is based in Gravette and includes a multitude clinics located in Southwest Missouri and Northwest Arkansas. OCH locations can accept Medicaid, Medicare, UHC Military and other insurances. For more information, visit www.OCHonline.com.