Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of death among men and women in the U.S., and it is continuing to rise each year.
The American Cancer Society estimates there will be more than 100,000 new colorectal cancer cases this year.
Colorectal cancer starts as a growth in the colon or the rectum. These growths are also known as polyps. Through an annual colon cancer screening known as a colonoscopy, early detection of these polyps can be an effective treatment.
With March designated as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, coalitions and programs across the nation are promoting ways for people to get screened, learn more about colon cancer, diminish misconceptions, and inform people about recent data.
In a recent study of more than 85,000 women conducted by The Journal of the American Medical Association, it found that people who suffered from obesity faced a greater risk of developing colorectal cancer before the age of 50.
This study was also similar to the National Cancer Institute as it learned people who are obese are 30 percent more likely to develop colorectal cancer.
As doctors use a body mass index to provide a ratio of weight to height, this study also found that for a person with a higher BMI there could be a direct link to a person’s risk of developing colon cancer.
Getting screened early is a must for reducing these numbers. If there is a family history of colorectal cancer, screenings should be done earlier than the recommended age of 45 to ensure no precancerous polyps are found.
Other factors can decrease your risk such as staying healthy by eating fruits and vegetables and exercising regularly.
To ensure people live a healthier lifestyle, national initiatives and campaigns have started a way to spread awareness about colon cancer and provide support for people living with it.
FACT: Colorectal cancer is the most preventable, yet least prevented cancer. People might be unaware that there are also multiple screening methods for colorectal cancer.
Screening for colon and rectal cancer is very important because most people who are diagnosed with cancer have no symptoms at all! Colorectal cancer is known as the “silent killer” because once you have symptoms, most of the time it is a more advanced disease. We have noticed a decreasing number in cancer rates in those patients who follow colonoscopy screening recommendations.
Colon and rectal cancer can be prevented with appropriate screening. Colorectal cancer usually starts from precancerous polyps in the colon or rectum. A polyp is a growth that shouldn’t be there. Over time, some polyps can turn into cancer. Screening tests can find precancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Screening tests also can find colorectal cancer early, when treatment works best.
Screening has more options now and it is important to work with your primary care provider to find the option that works best for you. It is also important to remember that if you have a positive screen, DO NOT ignore it. Go the next step and follow it up with diagnostic testing. At Surgical Associates, PC, we are here and available to assist you with the next step you need after a positive screening test. We have short wait times to get into see a provider and easy to schedule procedures so you can get the answers you need.
General Health Guidance
No matter what age you are, it’s important to maintain a healthy diet (low in red and processed meats), an active lifestyle and a healthy body weight. And of course, don’t smoke, and if you consume alcohol, do so in moderation.
But no matter how healthy your lifestyle it’s still essential to talk with your doctor, choose a test and get screened!
Options for screening include: Remember some screening times change due to risk factors and family history
Examines entire colon
Can biopsy and remove polyps
Can diagnose other diseases
Required for abnormal results from all other tests
Computed tomographic colonography (CTC)
Examines entire colon
No sedation needed
Double-contrast barium enema
Can usually view entire colon
No sedation needed
Minimal bowel preparation
Does not require sedation
Stool Tests (These tests are less sensitive. Single-sample FOBT done in a doctor’s office/toilet bowl tests are not recommended.)
Fecal immunochemical test (FIT)
No bowel cleansing or sedation
Performed at home
FIT-DNA test (Cologuard®)
No bowel cleansing
Can be performed at home
Requires only a single stool sample
3 years, per manufacturer’s recommendation
*Complexity involves patient preparation, inconvenience, facilities and equipment needed, and patient discomfort