© 2024 Michigan State University Board of Trustees
Public Media from Michigan State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Get Screened.

Jacquelyn Charbel, DO, FACOS, FACS
Lindsay Gluf-Magar
Jacquelyn Charbel, DO, FACOS, FACS

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer type worldwide; in 2020, almost 2 million cases were diagnosed. It is the second most common cause of cancer death, leading to almost 1 million deaths per year. This is even though effective screening techniques exist that could reduce the number of deaths from this disease.

Jacquelyn Charbel, DO, FACOS, FACS is an assistant professor of osteopathic surgical specialties in Michigan State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, and she’s a colorectal surgeon at MSU Health Care. Dr. Charbel talks about risk factors, treatment, and what we should be more aware of.

Conversation highlights:

(1:25) – “My practice philosophy is that prevention is key. The best thing you can do is get screened for colon cancer. The guidelines for one’s first screening was lowered from 50 to 45 a few years ago because of the uptick we’ve seen in colon cancer in younger people to catch those earlier. Because if we catch it early, there are better outcomes in cure rates and longer survival.”

(3:16) – “Cologuard is convenient because it’s a little kit that shows up in your mailbox. You don’t have to do a bowel prep or change what you eat. It’s all done in the privacy of your own home. It’s looking for cancer DNA cells. It does have about an 8 percent miss rate, though, which is higher than a colonoscopy. The gold standard is still colonoscopy because it’s better diagnostically and it can take polyps out whereas Cologuard doesn’t treat anything.”

(4:57) – “Prevention is key. This doesn’t have to be a scary sentence for you. If you come in early as you’re directed, we can prevent a lot of difficulty down the line.”

(5:37) – “There are so many exciting research projects in the works, and Michigan State is a part of that.”

(7:00) – “Most colon cancers are what we call sporadic and can occur in people who don’t have a family history. That’s why it’s important to be screened.”

(8:27) – “Working with students is a big part of why I wanted to come to Michigan State.”

(9:38) – “What a great feeling to rid someone of a cancer. You really give them their life back. The goal now is to not let it get to that point. Catch it early so you don’t have to go through a big operation.”

Listen to “MSU Today with Russ White” on the radio and through Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and wherever you get your shows.