Screenings Help Prevent Colon Cancer
In the United States, colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in both men and women. And, it is the second most common cause of cancer deaths when numbers for men and women are combined. It’s expected to cause about 52,550 deaths during 2023.
And yet, estimates are that as many as 60 percent of these deaths could have been prevented with regular screenings.
The death rate from colorectal cancer has been dropping in both men and women for several decades. There are a number of likely reasons for this. One is that colorectal polyps are now being found more often by screening and removed before they can develop into cancers. Screening also results in many colorectal cancers being found earlier, when they are likely to be easier to treat. In addition, treatments for colorectal cancer have improved over the last few decades.
Screening Saves Lives
Colorectal cancer screening helps find precancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. In this way, colorectal cancer is prevented.
Currently, there are three (3) general screening options for health and prevention:
– High-sensitivity fecal occult blood test (annually)
– Flexible sigmoidoscopy (usually every 5 years)
– Colonoscopy (recommended every 10 years)
Sedentary lifestyle, overweight and obesity, smoking, heavy alcohol use, low-fiber, high-fat diets or diets high in processed meats, and other environmental factors have all been associated with the disease.
The good news is that regular screenings can save lives. The bad news is that while many in recent years have become aware of the tests to prevent or catch the disease in its early stages, the disease’s high incidence and mortality rates would indicate that many among us are still avoiding screenings.
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John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions.
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