Research suggests that only five to ten percent of cancers are hereditary. That means the non-inherited causes of cancer — the lifestyle choices we make, the foods we eat, and our physical activity levels — have a direct impact on our overall cancer risk. Internal Medicine Center encourages people of all ages to take charge of their health by making smart lifestyle and nutrition choices, seeing their doctor regularly for checkups and health screenings, and monitoring their bodies for any changes that should be brought to the attention of medical professionals.
Colorectal cancer is cancer of the colon or rectum. This year, more than 135,000 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and more than 50,200 will die of the disease.
With certain types of screening, this cancer can be prevented by removing polyps (grape-like growths on the wall of the intestine) before they become cancerous. Several screening tests detect colorectal cancer early when it can be easily and successfully treated.
You might be at an increased risk for colorectal cancer if you:
Are age 50 or older
Smoke or use tobacco
Are overweight or obese, especially if you carry fat around your waist
Are not physically active
Drink alcohol in excess (especially if you are a man)
Eat a lot of red meat, such as beef, pork or lamb, or a lot of processed meat, such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs or cold cuts
Have a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or benign (not cancerous) colorectal polyps
Have a personal or family history of inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
Early stages of colorectal cancer don’t usually have symptoms. Later on, people may have these symptoms:
Bleeding from the rectum or blood in or on the stool
Change in bowel habits
Stools that are more narrow than usual
General problems in the abdomen, such as bloating, fullness or cramps
Diarrhea, constipation or a feeling in the rectum that the bowel movement isn’t quite complete
Weight loss for no apparent reason
Being tired all the time
Be physically active for at least 30 minutes at least five days a week
Maintain a healthy weight and waist size
Don’t smoke. If you do smoke, quit
Limit alcohol to no more than one drink per day if you’re a woman or two drinks per day if you’re a man
Eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, which are good sources of fiber
Eat less red meat and cut out processed meat
Get screened according to guidelines
Colorectal Cancer is cancer of the colon and rectum. It is the third most frequently diagnosed cancer in both men and women and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States.eading cause of cancer deaths in the United States.
Begin getting screened at age 50. If you are older than age 75, ask your doctor if you should continue to be screened.
If you are a high risk, talk to your health care professional about screening earlier and more often
Talk to your doctor about your screening test options
Tests that find pre-cancer and cancer:
Colonoscopy – Every 10 years
Virtual colonoscopy – Every 5 years
Flexible sigmoidoscopy – Every 5 years
Double-contrast barium enema – Every 5 years
Tests that mainly detect cancer
Stool occult blood test (FOBT) (guaiac) – Every year
Stool immunochemical test (FIT) – Every year
Stool DNA test (sDNA) – ask your health care professional; the FDA approved the use of the sDNA test in 2014.
An abnormal result of a virtual colonoscopy or a double-contrast barium enema, or a positive FOBT, FIT or sDNA test, should be followed up with a colonoscopy.
If you would like to learn more about colon cancer or about how you can get screened. call Internal Medicine Center today and schedule an appointment with one of our five gastroenterologists today!