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.

The problem

• 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.

Risk factors

• 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.

Screening recommendations

• 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.


Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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