Colon Cancer On The Rise
Over the last two decades, deaths caused by colon cancer have been dropping steadily. This can be attributed to the fact that colon cancer screening advocated at 50 years of age with colonoscopy not only detects the existence of pre-cancerous polyps. It also allows the removal of any polyps that may develop into cancer later on in life.
Contrary to this good news, however, the incidence of colon cancer among adults under the age of 50 have actually increased. This may be because younger patients do not notice any symptoms to prompt testing before the recommended time. Treatment can delayed and the risk of colon cancer causing death will again increase.
It has been shown that pre-cancerous growths or polyps in the colon very likely start the process of cancer development. Removal of these polyps, when detected during a colonoscopy, prevents the development of colon cancer. The removal of larger polyps that have invaded with cancer cells may potentially provide cure if complete resection is successful.
The triggers for the progression of pre-cancerous polyps in the colon cancer remain unclear but risk factors including age, male gender, family history of colon polyps or cancer, rase, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, tobacco, alcohol consumption, and dietary indiscretions have been implicated.
It is well established that those who are more than 50 years of age should undergo colonoscopy for colon cancer screening. This includes those who are healthy and symptom-free. With more recent information showing a rise in colon cancer among younger patients, earlier screening should be performed. And this should be validated by the American Cancer Society which has advocated screening to begin at 45 years of age. Even earlier screening is encouraged when a family history of colon cancer is present.
Colonoscopy is the gold standard for colon cancer screening. It is an endoscopic examination that looks at the lining of a person’s large intestine (colon). Before the procedure is performed, it is necessary to undergo bowel cleansing to provide the gastroenterologist a clear view of the colon. The procedure is typically done as an outpatient and usually lasts around 30 to 45 minutes. Anesthesia is administered through the veins to ensure a pleasant experience. A gastroenterologist inserts a flexible tube that is guided by a camera through the anus and the colon is then carefully examined and any polyps can be removed by biopsy.
Prevention of colon cancer mainly involves early screening and early detection. Getting a colonoscopy examination is the best screening test available. Adjunct to screening, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is strongly encouraged. High-fiber fruits and vegetables and whole grain should be included in the daily diet. Exercise to maintain a healthy weight and avoiding tobacco and alcohol are other ways to prevent colon cancer.
When it occurs early in life, colon cancer may not produce noticeable symptoms, but consult a doctor if you observe the following: blood in the stool, persistent abdominal cramps, pain or gas, changes in your bowel habits, loss of appetite or considerable weight loss, or if you are anemic. Detection of pre-cancerous polyps and its removal prevents colon cancer. Removal of early cancer can lead to possible cure. Get screened early, as screening for colon cancer can save your life.
For more information, please call St. Luke's Product Information Center at (632) 846-8830 or 0998-582-2276. You may also send inquiries to [email protected].
St. Luke's Medical Center - Global City
Rizal Drive cor. 32nd St. and 5th Ave
Taguig City, Philippines