The Fight Against Colon Cancer
Published : Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Life is full of surprises, don’t let colon cancer be one of them. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year about 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and more than 50,000 people die from it. For men and women in the United States, it is the third most common form of cancer. However, this disease is highly preventable by being proactive and getting screened beginning at the age of 50.
What you need to know about colon cancer:
Colorectal cancer occurs in the rectum or colon and is commonly referred to as colon cancer. What is the colon? The colon is the large intestine or bowel. What is the rectum? The rectum is the passageway that connects the colon to the anus. Occasionally there are abnormal growths, known as polyps, that develop in the colon or rectum. Luckily, there are screening tests that can detect the polyps so they can be removed before turning into cancer.
Although many guidelines suggest to start screening at the age of 50, 10 percent of cases are found in younger people. If you experience any of the symptoms below or any of the risk factors apply, please talk with your health care provider about your screening options.
• Age increases the risk for colon cancer, more than 90% of colon cancers occur in people 50 and older.
• At first, precancerous polyps and colorectal cancer don’t always cause symptoms. Often, you could have polyps or colorectal cancer and not know it.
• Symptoms include
o Stomach pain, aches or cramps that last for a prolonged amount of time
o Blood in or on the bowel movement
o Rapid weight loss without explanation
• Other risk factors include
o Inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
o Family history of colon cancer
How to prevent colon cancer?
• Between the ages of 50-75, get screened for colon cancer regularly
• Be physically active
• Maintain a healthy weight
• Don’t smoke
• Drink in moderation
Screening test options:
• Colonoscopy (every 10 years)
• High-sensitivity fecal occult test (FOBT), stool test, or fecal immunochemical test (FIT) (once a year)
• Sigmoidoscopy (every 5 years, with FOBT every three years)
At Scissortail Healthcare, experienced and trained staff work with patients to help set and meet goals, understand how to use insulin and other medications, as well as develop and implement a diet and exercise plan. For more information, please call 918-508-7333.