Colon Cancer Awareness- The Importance of Early Detection

Colon Cancer Awareness- The Importance of Early Detection


(upbeat music) – It’s important to be
screened for colon cancer because colon cancer is
the second leading cause of cancer death in the United states. And colonoscopy is one of
the few screening tests that not only diagnoses and
treats precancerous polyps, but actually helps prevent cancer. And that’s something that you have to take into consideration when
looking at a colonoscopy. The current guidelines require
screening to begin at age 50. If there are family members who have been diagnosed with colon cancer, the screenings should
begin 10 years younger than the age of the diagnosis
of that family member. There are about three to five percent of the colon cancers that
are genetic syndromes where screening can actually begin in the 20s and 30s, but in
general, the beginning age is 50. There has been some recent literature that is asking the question, when should you stop doing acolonoscopy? And my response typically is
that if the patient is healthy that they should continue
to have surveillance for colon polyps as
long as they’re healthy. Recent data says that over the age of 75 there may be some negligible
benefit for colonoscopy, but I have patients in their 80s and 90s who I think if they were not surveyed during their 70s and 80s, could have developed into,
could have developed cancer that should have been prevented, so I would recommend
patients always checking with their doctor to
determine whether or not they’re a candidate for a
colonoscopy after the age of 75. Some of the most common symptoms the patients will have will
be a change of bowel habits, there may be a change in
the color of the stool, there will be rectal bleeding, but about five to 15 percent of patients who have colon cancer have
no symptoms whatsoever. So it’s important to know your body, and for anyone who has a
change in their bowel pattern or notices something that
is unfamiliar to them, they need to be checked. One of the most important
things that patients can do in this day and age other than getting a colonoscopy is to eat right. A high fiber diet, low fat diet, those have been shown to improve motility and to help regularity which is important. There are some things that
you can do medication-wise. Taking a baby asprin a day, there are some studies that show that reduces the polyp formation. A few studies have shown that smoking does increase your risk for colon cancer, so we always ask patients
to stop smoking if they do. And certainly patients
who have family history. We certainly want those
patients to be checked earlier, again screening for colon cancer
is the most important thing to prevent colon cancer. If you are diagnosed with colon cancer, it’s important to know
that 90 percent of patients can be cured in the early stages. So the earlier the diagnosis,
the better the outcome. For those patients who do need to go on to a colon resection, we do have some new techniques that are much less invasive, less painful, and allow for quicker recovery. And those include
laparoscopic colon resections as well as a Da Vinci
Robotic colon resection. And those are done in
hospitals around the country. And the data is very positive. Not only does it improve your outcome, but the patients actually recover quicker. (upbeat music)

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