PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Colon or colorectal cancer is defined as cancer that starts in the large intestine or the rectum (the end of the colon).
Most colorectal cancers start as a growth on the inner lining of the colon or rectum. These growths are called polyps.
Many colorectal cancers can be prevented!
Colon cancer can affect anyone
• Sam Simon, "The Simpsons" co-creator, died in 2015 after a long and public battle with colon cancer.
• Katie Couric lost her husband, Jay, to colorectal cancer in 1998.
• Sharon Osbourne was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2002.
• Ronald Reagan, the 40th President, underwent surgery for colon cancer in July of 1985.
• Pope John Paul had surgery to remove colon cancer in 1992.
• Kareem Abdul Jabbar, "My grandfather died from colorectal cancer, my uncle died from colorectal cancer and my father almost died from colorectal cancer," adding that he himself has the gene.
• Lifetime risk of developing cancer: Approximately 4.2 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer at some point during their lifetime, based on 2013-2015 data.
• This adds up to over 140,000 people diagnosed in 2018.
• There are about 1,300,000 people living with colorectal cancer in the United States.
• The death rate (the number of deaths per 100,000 people per year) from colorectal cancer has been dropping due to better treatment and early detection.
• One in three adults still do not get screened for colorectal cancer when they should be.
Lots of options for screening tests
• Tests that can be collected at home and returned to MD office, if positive further evaluation is required:
1. FOBT test (looks for blood in sample)
2. DNA (looks for cell DNA in sample)
• Tests that must be done in a facility: (Patient needs to prep before hand)
3. Sigmoidoscopy (camera looks at lower part of colon)
4. Colonoscopy (camera looks at entire colon)
• Any abnormality in the first three options would lead to colonoscopy.
• Adults over the age of 50.
• Family history of the disease
• Past endometrial, breast, ovarian, colon or rectal cancer.
• A history of inflammatory disease of the colon like Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.
• Personal history of colon polyps.
• African American.
• Inherited syndromes that increase colon cancer risk.
• Family history of colon cancer.
• Cigarette smoking.
• Heavy alcohol use.
• History of radiation therapy for cancer.
• Age 50-75 for general population.
• Age 45 or earlier if risk factors present (see above).
• Every 10 years if test normal and no risk factors.
• Every 1-5 years if abnormalities found or risk is high.
What you can do
• Get screened when appropriate. It's not as bad as you think!
• Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
• Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all.
• Stop smoking.
• Exercise most days of the week.
• Maintain a healthy weight.