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March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month – NVRH’s Dr. Brian Smith speaks on the topic

by | Mar 28, 2024 | In the News

ST. JOHNSBURY, VT (March 13, 2024) – Colorectal Cancer is among the deadliest cancers in the United States, second behind lung and bronchial cancers, however, it is also among the most preventable due in part to easily accessible screenings. March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness month, and NVRH General Surgeon, Dr. Brian Smith spoke recently with Scott Wheeler of Vermont’s Northland Journal Northeast Kingdom Voice television show about getting screened and why it’s so important.

In the 30-minute video segment, Scott shares his personal experience with cancer and how he lost his wife to the disease two years ago, powering his staunch advocacy for screening. Early diagnosis and intervention is proven to save lives and getting screened when recommended is the key to catching dangerous cancers early. The main screening procedure is the colonoscopy, for which Scott disclosed that he recently completed his second preventative colon cancer screening. Scott shared that the negativity over the procedure was overstated. Dr. Smith agreed and emphasized that screenings had improved over the years. “Most of the negativity folks experience is related to the prep for the colonoscopy,” he added. The “prep” includes drinking a large amount of liquids to evacuate the colon so it is clear for the procedure. While there is no way around the prep, Dr. Smith assured viewers that the amount of liquids required had decreased and that the general testing and equipment had truly improved.

In their conversation, they also discussed the recommendations for screening. The US Preventative Services Task Force recommends that most low-risk individuals should be screened starting around age 45. Individuals with a family history of colorectal cancer should talk with their primary care provider about earlier screening to prevent and ensure early detection. To view the conversation between Scott Wheeler and Dr. Smith, visit

NVRH conducts about 25 colonoscopies per week, and is seeking the community’s support to acquire a state-of-the-art colonoscope, not only for minimizing patient discomfort but also for significantly improving our ability to detect abnormalities. This advancement ensures the highest standard of diagnostic and therapeutic interventions. We invite our community to join us in making a contribution to secure the new colonoscope, enabling us to enhance the level of care we provide. To give today, please visit