March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and Dr. Rachel Ellsworth, head of Colon and Rectal Surgery at our very own Houston Methodist West Hospital, is asking you to “Check Your Backside!” “We are proud to be part of the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable’s ‘80% by 2018’ initiative,” says Dr. Ellsworth. That means 80% of adults aged 50 and older will be regularly screened for colorectal cancer by 2018.
“Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women combined,” continues Dr. Ellsworth. “Getting screened for colon cancer is no different from getting a mammogram. And it’s important! If we catch the cancer early, the prognosis is excellent. But that changes drastically as the cancer moves to advanced stages. Today, only about 65% of our population over age 50 is getting screened. We believe that if we achieve 80% by 2018, 277,000 cases and 203,000 colorectal cancer deaths can be prevented by 2030.”
Does this mean you need a colonoscopy? “Not necessarily,” says Dr. Ellsworth. “While Medicare and most medical insurance plans will cover colonoscopy, there are other, more accessible tests. Tests that can give peace of mind or prompt further evaluation. The 80% initiative means any kind of screening…just do it sooner rather than later.”
Dr. Ellsworth grew up in Maryland and did her internship and residency at Houston Methodist Hospital. Her fellowship training was completed at The University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. She’s board certified in both general surgery and colon and rectal surgery. “My approach to care is to provide compassionate, patient-centered care. When you’re treated here at Houston Methodist West, you have the gift of our team approach. We offer complete comprehensive care from diagnosis and treatment to survivorship. We offer the expertise and benefits of the medical center right here in our community. Our oncology team communicates and collaborates with the patient during every step of care.”
Dr. Ellsworth is married to Houston Methodist West plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Dr. Warren A. Ellsworth IV. This past year, the couple welcomed now 7-month old daughter Isabel. Dr. Ellsworth participates in screening, education and continuity of care for her patients. “I love that we have the potential to provide a durable cure to colon cancer, not just prolong a patient’s life. That’s extremely gratifying.”
Rachel Ellsworth, MD
Houston Methodist Specialty Physician Group
18400 Katy Fwy., Suite 560, Medical Office Building 1Houston, TX 77094