The American Cancer Society recommends that adults age 50 and older receive a colorectal cancer screening by colonoscopy every 10 years. Although it is estimated that colonoscopy screening has the potential to prevent about 65 percent of colorectal cancer cases, statistics for 2006-2008 rank Arkansas 47th in the nation for people who undergo these  recommendedscreenings.

Colonoscopy has many advantages over other colorectal screening tests, including the fact that examines the entire colon and allows for screening, diagnosis and removal of polyps in a single visit.

Current Recommendations for the Prevention of Colorectal Cancer

1. Get screened regularly.
2. Maintain a healthy weight throughout life.
3. Adopt a physically active lifestyle.
4. Consume a healthy diet with an emphasis on plant sources; specifically:

  • Choose foods and beverages in amounts that help achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Eat five or more servings of a variety of vegetables and fruits each day.
  • Choose whole grains in preference to processed (refined) grains.
  • Limit your consumption of processed and red meats.

5. If you drink alcoholic beverages, limit consumption.
Source: American Cancer Society

UAMS Diagnostic Clinic

Colonoscopies are available at the UAMS Diagnostic Clinic. Although UAMS does not require a referral for this clinic, some insurance providers request a referral for specialty care. Check with your insurance provider or call the Diagnostic Clinic at 501-686-6560 for information.

Location: First floor of Family Medical Center at 521 Jack Stephens Drive, Little Rock
Parking: Available behind the Family Medical Center building off Sixth Street.

The Colorectal Cancer Screening Program (CCSP)

The Colorectal Cancer Screening Program (CCSP) is committed to prevention, early detection and treatment of colorectal cancer. The program is designed to provide equitable access to colorectal cancer screenings throughout the state.

Approximately 1,500 Arkansans will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2011 and 600 will die from it. The purpose of CCSP is to increase colorectal cancer screening rates in the state while decreasing the number of preventable deaths from the disease.

CCSP targets its services to minorities and people from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds or underserved communities. Participants in need of follow-up are referred to the appropriate services.

For information, call the Health Initiatives and Disparities Research at 501-526-5260.

Colorectal Cancer Act of 2005

Arkansas has one of the country’s highest annual mortality rates from colorectal cancer with an average of just more than 20 deaths per 100,000. That’s compared to the national average of 17 deaths per 100,000. Nearly 1,700 Arkansans are diagnosed with colon and rectum cancers each year.

Fortunately, patients whose tumors are detected at an early stage before the disease spreads have an 80 percent to 90 percent chance of surviving for 10 years or more. Colorectal cancer is one of the few diseases that can be prevented through regular screening, by allowing polyps to be removed before they become cancerous.

Breaking down the barriers that placed Arkansas 47th in the nation in the number of cancer screenings is a primary focus of the Colorectal Cancer Act of 2005. The legislation mandates coverage for colorectal cancer screening by defined health care plans and created a pilot program to help uninsured and under-insured Arkansans obtain screening.

Ronda Henry-Tillman, M.D., and the UAMS Cancer Control and Populations Sciences research program were instrumental in securing passage of the Act. Henry-Tillman is principal investigator of the Colorectal Cancer Education and Screening Program at UAMS.