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March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month

Samir-Parikh.jpgBy: Dr. Samir Parikh, Riddle Hospital

As the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, experts recommend that people age 50 years or older be screened routinely. This is because in the case of colon and rectal cancers, polyp detection is truly prevention.

Screenings Prevent Deaths
Colorectal cancer develops from precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum. The screening tests are effective in finding the polyps so that they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Recent estimates are that as many as between 75 and 90 percent of colorectal cancer deaths could be avoided if people were screened.

The only way we know to identify and remove polyps with high accuracy and safety is the colonoscopy. It is done while a patient is lightly sedated and in a semi-sleep state. During a colonoscopy, the doctor inserts a long, flexible, lighted tube (colonoscope, or scope) into the anus and slowly guides it through the rectum and into the colon. The scope inflates the large intestine with carbon dioxide gas to give the doctor a better view. A small camera mounted on the scope transmits a video image from inside the large intestine to a screen, allowing the doctor to carefully examine the intestinal lining.

There are also alternatives, which may be suitable for those who do not have health insurance or prefer not to have a colonoscopy. None of these substitutes, though, which include hemoccult, flexible sigmoidoscopy, and barium enema, can remove polyps during the same procedure.  Nevertheless, not getting screened is not an option.

Terminology & Recommendations

  • Hemoccult or High-Sensitivity Fecal Occult Blood Test is when a stool sample is tested. It should be done once a year.
  • Flexible Sigmoidoscopy enables the doctor to see only the lower (sigmoid) colon, whereas a colonoscopy allows the doctor to see the entire colon. This type of screening can detect inflamed tissue, abnormal growths, and ulcers. It should be done every five years. 
  • Double contrast barium enema is a special x-ray used to find changes or abnormal growths in the colon. It should be done every five years.

Some studies show that increased physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight may also decrease the risk for colorectal cancer.

Have a health question you want to ask? Visit the Riddle Physicians' Blog to ask a question or view past wellness articles.

 
Posted by Main Line Health on 3/7/2012 9:38:18 AM

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month

Samir-Parikh.jpgBy: Dr. Samir Parikh, Riddle Hospital

As the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, experts recommend that people age 50 years or older be screened routinely. This is because in the case of colon and rectal cancers, polyp detection is truly prevention.

Screenings Prevent Deaths
Colorectal cancer develops from precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum. The screening tests are effective in finding the polyps so that they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Recent estimates are that as many as between 75 and 90 percent of colorectal cancer deaths could be avoided if people were screened.

The only way we know to identify and remove polyps with high accuracy and safety is the colonoscopy. It is done while a patient is lightly sedated and in a semi-sleep state. During a colonoscopy, the doctor inserts a long, flexible, lighted tube (colonoscope, or scope) into the anus and slowly guides it through the rectum and into the colon. The scope inflates the large intestine with carbon dioxide gas to give the doctor a better view. A small camera mounted on the scope transmits a video image from inside the large intestine to a screen, allowing the doctor to carefully examine the intestinal lining.

There are also alternatives, which may be suitable for those who do not have health insurance or prefer not to have a colonoscopy. None of these substitutes, though, which include hemoccult, flexible sigmoidoscopy, and barium enema, can remove polyps during the same procedure.  Nevertheless, not getting screened is not an option.

Terminology & Recommendations

  • Hemoccult or High-Sensitivity Fecal Occult Blood Test is when a stool sample is tested. It should be done once a year.
  • Flexible Sigmoidoscopy enables the doctor to see only the lower (sigmoid) colon, whereas a colonoscopy allows the doctor to see the entire colon. This type of screening can detect inflamed tissue, abnormal growths, and ulcers. It should be done every five years. 
  • Double contrast barium enema is a special x-ray used to find changes or abnormal growths in the colon. It should be done every five years.

Some studies show that increased physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight may also decrease the risk for colorectal cancer.

Have a health question you want to ask? Visit the Riddle Physicians' Blog to ask a question or view past wellness articles.

 
Posted by Main Line Health on 3/7/2012 9:38:18 AM
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