Turning 50 In 2013? Add Colorectal Cancer Screening To Your List Of New Year’s Resolutions
OAK BROOK, Ill., Dec. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A new year is approaching and for those that are turning 50 in 2013, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) recommends adding colorectal cancer screening to their New Year’s list of resolutions. Recent studies have confirmed that screening is a contributing factor to declining colorectal cancer death rates. Colorectal cancer, also referred to as colon cancer, is one of the most preventable cancers. The majority of colorectal cancers arise from precancerous growths in the colon called polyps, which can be found during a screening exam and removed before they turn into cancer.
Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in men and women and the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. A 2011 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that rates of new cases and deaths of colorectal cancer are decreasing and that more adults are being screened. Between 2003 and 2007, approximately 66,000 colorectal cancer cases were prevented and 32,000 lives were saved compared to 2002. Half of these prevented cases and deaths were due to screening. However, one in three adults is still not being screened.
ASGE recommends that, beginning at age 50, men and women at average risk for developing colorectal cancer should begin screening. People with risk factors, such as a family history of polyps, colorectal cancer or other risk factors, should begin screening at an earlier age. Some experts suggest that African-Americans should begin screening at age 45. Patients are advised to discuss their risk factors with their doctor to determine when to begin routine colorectal cancer screening and how often they should be screened. Screening methods include colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, stool blood tests such as fecal occult blood test (FOBT) or fecal immunochemical test (FIT), stool DNA, CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy), and barium enema.
Colorectal cancer is considered a silent killer because often there are no symptoms until it is too late to treat. Age is the single most important risk factor for the disease, so even people who lead a healthy lifestyle can still develop polyps and cancer. All men and women age 50 or over should talk to their doctor about the colorectal cancer screening method that is best for them.
Colonoscopy is considered the preferred screening test because it is a preventive exam; it is the only test that both finds and removes precancerous polyps during the same exam. With the other methods, if a polyp is found, that test must then be followed by a colonoscopy to remove the polyp. A person at average risk with normal colonoscopy results won’t need another exam for 10 years. Should a polyp or cancer be found, screening intervals may be more frequent.
Colorectal cancer can be present in people without symptoms, known family history, or predisposing conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease. While common in other benign conditions, the following symptoms might indicate colorectal cancer:
- Blood in your stools
- Narrower than normal stools
- Unexplained abdominal pain
- Unexplained change in bowel habits
- Unexplained anemia
- Unexplained weight loss
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should consult your doctor.
For more information on colorectal cancer prevention and to find a doctor, log on to ASGE’s colorectal cancer awareness website www.screen4coloncancer.org. The site offers visitors a wealth of vital information including facts about colorectal cancer, screening options, what to expect during a colonoscopy, answers to frequently asked questions, the latest news about colorectal cancer, such as studies and statistics, links to patient support and advocacy groups, educational videos, and e-Cards.
Join ASGE’s “Peter and Polly Polyp” Facebook page and spread the word to your family and friends about colorectal cancer prevention. Colorectal cancer is preventable, treatable and beatable!
About the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
Since its founding in 1941, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) has been dedicated to advancing patient care and digestive health by promoting excellence in gastrointestinal endoscopy. ASGE, with more than 12,000 members worldwide, promotes the highest standards for endoscopic training and practice, fosters endoscopic research, recognizes distinguished contributions to endoscopy, and is the foremost resource for endoscopic education. Visit www.asge.org and www.screen4coloncancer.org for more information and to find a qualified doctor in your area.
Endoscopy is performed by specially-trained physicians called endoscopists using the most current technology to diagnose and treat diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. Using flexible, thin tubes called endoscopes, endoscopists are able to access the human digestive tract without incisions via natural orifices. Endoscopes are designed with high-intensity lighting and fitted with precision devices that allow viewing and treatment of the gastrointestinal system.
Media Contact: Anne Brownsey
SOURCE American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy