Capital Health experts talk Colorectal Screening and Awareness



"My doctor told me I needed a colonoscopy to check for colon cancer, but is that true?" Dr. Ashlee N. Godshalk Ruggles, a board certified, fellowship trained colorectal surgeon from Capital Health Surgical Group, joined a live Facebook chat to answer viewer questions about the different ways of testing for cancer and polyps and treatment options available.

When should you get a Colorectal Screening?

· If you are age 50 to 75 years old, you should get screened for colorectal cancer.
· The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening beginning at age 50. Some groups recommend starting earlier, at age 45.
· The vast majority of new cases of colorectal cancer (about 90%) occur in people who are 50 or older.
· If you think you may be at increased risk for colorectal cancer, learn your family health history and ask your doctor if you should begin screening before age 50.

Why is a screening important?

Colorectal Cancer has no symptoms and getting a screening can save your life.

Dr. Ashlee N. Godshalk Ruggles is a board certified, fellowship trained colorectal surgeon with a focus on minimally invasive procedures. After receiving her medical degree at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA, Dr. Godshalk Ruggles completed her internship and general surgery residency at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH. She continued her education by completing two fellowships at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, TX-the first in minimally-invasive colon and rectal surgery where she focused entirely on a laparoscopic and robotic approach to colorectal surgeries. She furthered her expertise by completing an additional fellowship in colon and rectal surgery the following year, this time expanding her focus to include advanced endoscopy and all approaches to surgery.

As a colon and rectal surgeon, Dr. Godshalk Ruggles' sole focus is the prevention and treatment of diseases of the colon, rectum, and anus. Her clinical interests focus on improving patient quality of life, implementing Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) protocols, and utilizing a minimally invasive approach to surgery.

Dr. Godshalk Ruggles is a member of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons and the American College Of Surgeons. She has presented colorectal surgery research at national conferences and published research on other topics in professional medical journals. Away from the office, she enjoys spending time with her husband, their two sons, and their German Shepherd dog, Nola.
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