Houston, TX — According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), more than 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year and over 50,000 people die from the condition, making it the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Dr. Eric Haas, a colon and rectal surgeon in Houston, says there are a number of ways to help prevent colon cancer, and early detection can result in almost 100% cure rate. As the nationally recognized colon cancer awareness month comes to a close, Dr. Haas says he hopes to promote further education about colorectal cancer and its dangers in March, in addition to encouraging more people to undergo regular screenings year round to help prevent the deadly disease.
The CDC reports that more than 90% of all colorectal cancer cases occur in patients over the age of 50, a statistic Dr. Haas says he has observed at his Houston colon surgery practice. However, Dr. Haas also says patients who have routine screenings such as colonoscopies or stool tests have a much greater chance of detecting the cancer early on and potentially saving their life from the fatal disease. With the advent of advanced modern medical technology, Dr. Haas says patients and surgeons now have a number of reliable tools at their disposal for identifying precancerous polyps and growths. Having recently presented his findings at the annual meeting of the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) in San Diego, CA, he says patient awareness of the available methods for detecting and treating colon cancer is now more important than ever.
A colonoscopy uses a flexible camera instrument called a colonoscope to internally examine the colon for polyps, which are non-cancerous growths that can develop into colon cancer. Dr. Haas says for patients 50 and over and for those with any warning signs, undergoing a colonoscopy in Houston can remove dangerous polyps and also be an effective way to reduce their risk of contracting colorectal cancer. While Dr. Haas and the CDC recommend patients seek a routine colonoscopy every ten years, he also says stool tests can help detect possible early signs of the cancer as well.
Through expert surgical techniques, Dr. Haas also says treatment of colon cancer has improved dramatically, with procedures that can help reduce scarring and pain as well as quicken recovery time. Dr. Haas is actively involved in the promotion of modern and innovative techniques such as Laparoscopic colon and rectal surgery. Previously colon surgery for cancer was performed through open surgery with a large scar across the belly. Dr. Haas and the surgeons at Colorectal Surgical Associates now use minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery to cure patients. In these procedures, surgical trauma is greatly reduced and the scar is much smaller. With this advanced technique, patients have significantly less pain and a quicker return to normal intestinal and overall physical activity.
Single incision Laparoscopic surgery is the most recent breakthrough in the history of minimally invasive, laparoscopic colon surgery. This technique involves one single, small incision, which is ‘’hidden” through the navel. The most obvious benefit for the patient is the lack of apparent scar tissue, with only a handful of surgeons worldwide utilizing this type of advanced surgery. Dr. Haas says patients benefit from these updated procedures in many ways, including a faster recovery period and minimization of blood loss and scarring.
In addition to having regular colon cancer screenings, Dr. Haas says one of the most important ways to help prevent the spread of colorectal cancer is to stay educated about the disease. He urges patients to exercise and sustain a regular body weight; eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and fiber-rich foods; avoid foods that are high in fat; avoid smoking and drink alcohol in moderation. By maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle and keeping up-to-date with the latest information regarding colon cancer awareness, Dr. Haas says patients can help prolong their life and minimize the risk of future complications.
About Eric Haas, MD, FACS, FASCRS
A graduate of the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, Dr. Eric Haas completed his General Surgery residency at St. Joseph Hospital and fellowship training in Colon and Rectal Surgery at the University of Texas Medical School Fellowship Program. He is double board-certified by the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery and the American Board of Surgery, as well as a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, a Fellow of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, and the Program Director of the Minimally Invasive Colon and Rectal Surgery Fellowship Program. Dr. Haas is also Faculty for the Baylor College of Medicine and an active member of the Texas Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract, and numerous other professional organizations.
Dr. Haas’ practice, the Colorectal Surgical Associates, has three locations in the Houston area: 7900 Fannin, Suite 2700 in Houston, TX; 16605 Southwest Freeway Suite 430 in Sugar Land, TX; and 11914 Astoria Blvd. Suite 320 in Houston, TX. It can also be reached at (713) 790-0600 or contacted online via the website houstoncolon.com, drerichaas.com or facebook.com/houstoncolon, facebook.com/drerichaas .