Colorectal Cancer Screening Saves Lives
Colorectal cancers can be prevented if the individual has been screened beginning at the age of 50. Since most colorectal cancer begins as benign polyps, the test finds and removes these growths before they can turn into cancer. And, should there be cancer, the screening can find it early, when treatment is most effective.
A colonoscopy is a quick and painless test that often does not need to be performed more than once every five or 10 years.
Here are some additional facts about colorectal cancer:
— The risk increases with age, as more than 90 percent occur in people ages 50 and older.
— In many cases, there are no symptoms for colorectal cancer or polyps. This is why screening is so important. If there are symptoms, they most likely include blood in the stool, persistent stomach pains or cramps, and unexplained weight loss.
— The colonoscopy is considered the gold standard of testing. This test allows your doctor to look at the inner lining of your large intestine (rectum and colon) using a thin, flexible tube called a colonoscope to find ulcers, polyps, tumors, and areas of inflammation or bleeding.
Other risk factors for colorectal cancer, in addition to age, are:
— A family history of polyps or colon cancer.
— Hereditary, inherited conditions that tend to strike people at a younger age.
— Ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. These are conditions that cause an inflammation of the colon.
— Diet and lifestyle. Studies suggest that diets high in red meat and fat (especially animal fat) and low in calcium, and fiber may increase the risk of colorectal cancer. Also, some studies suggest people who eat a diet very low in fruits and vegetables may have a higher risk of this type of cancer. Inactivity and obesity have also been linked to a higher risk.
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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.
Phone: (781) 378-2164
Email: [email protected]