This year nearly 72,000 men and 65,000 women will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer. To date, this specific cancer is the second most deadly cancer (right behind lung and bronchial cancer) in America. Even with the decline in new cases and better recovery rates, colorectal cancer is expected to kill over 50,000 Americans this year. During Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, CHRIAS encourages our patients over the age of 50 to be screened for non-cancerous polyps and cancer, especially if you have a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or polyps, a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease, or if you know that you have a family history of hereditary colorectal cancer.
Is Colon Cancer Preventable?
According to cancer.org, being regularly tested for colorectal cancer can help prevent the growth of cancer. Most colorectal cancers begin as a small growth on the inner lining of the colon or rectum, called a polyp. During a screening you will be tested for cancer and also for non-cancerous polyps. While not all polyps will result in cancer, removing them while they are small can help prevent them from becoming cancer if left untreated.
Certain healthy behaviors and lifestyle changes can help reduce your risk for developing colorectal cancer:
- Stay active. Reports show that an active lifestyle can lead to a reduced risk for cancer.
- Maintain a healthy weight. If you have excess weight (especially belly fat), you may increase your risk of developing colorectal cancer.
- Avoid processed meats and red meat. Eating red meat or processed meats can double your risk of colorectal cancer. Stick to lean, fresh cuts.
- Load up on fiber. The more fiber, the less risk. Every ten grams of fiber cuts your risk ofcancer by 10%.
- Drink less. Alcohol, that is. According to a CUP report, alcohol can increase your risk.
How to test for Colorectal Cancer:
After the age of 50, the American Cancer Society typically recommends screening for polyps and colorectal cancer regularly at least every five years. Tests include:
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy
- Colonoscopy (every 10 years)
- Double-contrast barium enema
- CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy)
Is Colon Cancer Treatable?
Yes, there are treatment methods for colon cancer. While prevention is the best method for treating colorectal cancer, once cancer has been found, laparoscopic colectomies are a less invasive treatment option for removing cancerous cells than a traditional open colectomy. Using smaller, minimally-invasive laparoscopic tools, our skilled surgeons may be able to research and remove cancerous growths with less recovery time and similar survival rates to open colectomies. Work with your physician to determine which treatment option may have the best results for your diagnosis.
If you are over 50, have a family history of colorectal cancer, or a personal history of polyps, we encourage you get screened for cancer. To learn more about colorectal or colon cancer treatment in Delaware contact CHRIAS at 302-892-9900 or reach out to us online.