Live Longer, Check Your Colon!
Approximately 50,000 people die of colon cancer every year in the United States. Colorectal cancer is a preventable disease, but is still the third leading cancer killer. Colon Cancer is curable with early detection. Men and women over the age of 50 are recommended to get screenings regularly to catch it, before it can progress. There are many myths that surround colon cancer and they influence the decision to get screened regularly. Here are some real facts about colon cancer brought to you by Allen Kamrava, your board certified general & colorectal surgeon.
1. Colon cancer does not only affect men.
Approximately 26,000 women die each year from colon cancer. The only real factor in colon cancer is age. Gender and ethnicity do not matter; anyone over the age of 50 is susceptible to this disease. If you are 50 and older, most insurance covers screening and if you are 65 and older it is covered by Medicare.
2. Regular bowel movements do not mean you don’t need to be screened.
Colon cancer does not always show signs. It can kill silently and most symptoms occur in the more advanced stages. It can be cured if caught at an earlier stage but the more you wait the chances are lower. Some warning signs of colon cancer are: bloody stool, abdominal pain, changes in bowel habits, anemia, and weight loss. Other diseases such as hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome or an inflamed colon can also cause these symptoms; but you should never take the risk of not getting checked.
A good diet and exercise can decrease your chances of getting colon cancer. However, certain behaviors such as smoking, drinking, and a fatty diet can increase your chances. Even if you lead a healthy life style you should still get colon cancer screenings. Early screening will allow benign growths to be detected and removed before they mature into cancer.
3. Even if you are diagnosed, you still have a chance.
Colon cancer is highly treatable and there is over a 90 percent chance of survival when it is detected early. However, those chances drop to less than 10 percent, if detected later. So it is crucial to get screened regularly.
4. You still need to get screened even if it is not in your family history.
Only 10 to 20 percent of people with colon cancer have family history of colorectal cancer. It does not need to be in your family history to affect you so it is important to get screenings.
Dr. Allen Kamrava encourages everyone aged 50 and over to get regular colon cancer screenings. It might just save your life.