New Colon and Rectal Cancer Screening Guidelines

Earlier this week, the American Cancer Society updated its guidelines for colon and rectal cancer screenings and is now calling for all adults to be screened by age 45 and no longer wait until 50 years of age, which was the previous recommendation.

Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women combined in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates annually there are over 136,000 people diagnosed with the disease and approximately 50,000 of those cases are fatal.

The change in guidelines is in large part due to recent data that notes an increase in the number of colon and rectal cancer diagnoses in younger adults in recent years. According to reports there has been a 51% increase of these types of cases in the U.S. in people under the age of 50 since 1994. Possible reasons for the rise are poor diet or obesity.

Conversely, the number of both the number of cases and the number of deaths linked to colon and rectal cancer has declined in older adults. Many attribute the decline to increased efforts to screen this population.

Regular screening is one of the most powerful weapons for preventing colon cancer. Screening can also result in finding cancer early, when it is easier to treat and more likely to be curable. If polyps are found during colon screening, they can usually be removed before they have the chance to turn into cancer.
Common symptoms of colon cancer include:

Changes in bowel habits or a change in stool consistency that lasts more than four weeks
Rectal bleeding
Persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain
Feeling that bowels do not empty completely
Weakness or fatigue
Unexplained weight loss

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or are over the age of 45, Jamaica Hospital urges you to get screened. To make an appointment at Jamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center and schedule your screening, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Colorectal Cancer Risk factors and Prevention

colonoscopyColorectal cancer is a disease that causes abnormal cells or tumors to develop in the colon or rectum.  It is the third most commonly diagnosed type of cancer found in men and women in the United States.

Although colorectal cancer causes the deaths of approximately 50,000 people each year; the rate of survival is improving due to education, early detection and treatment.

Learning the risk factors of colorectal cancer is essential as there are risk factors you can control and some you cannot. The risk factors you can control include:

  • Smoking
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Poor diet – a diet rich in red meats and processed meats can increase your risk
  • Heavy alcohol consumption

These factors can be addressed by quitting smoking, exercising, eating a healthy and balanced diet and moderating your consumption of alcoholic beverages.

The factors that you cannot control that may contribute to colorectal cancer are:

  • Age- people over the  age of 50  have a higher risk in developing the disease
  • A family history of colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps
  • A personal history of colorectal polyps, colorectal cancer or inflammatory bowel disease
  • Having an inherited gene defect  that can cause family cancer syndromes such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), Gardner syndrome, Turcot syndrome or Lynch syndrome
  • Race or ethnicity
  • Having type 2 diabetes

Knowing your risk factors and taking appropriate actions can help you to reduce the probability of developing the disease.

Although it is not completely clear what causes colorectal cancer; it can be prevented by receiving regular screenings. With regular screenings, polyps or colon cancer can be found and treated early before advancing.

There are several testing methods your doctor may use to screen for colorectal cancer. Screening tests may include a colonoscopy or other testing methods such as fecal occult blood test,   flexible sigmoidoscopy, CT colonography or double-contrast barium enema. The American Cancer Society   recommends that men and women should receive screenings beginning at the age of 50.

For a complete guide to the American Cancer Society’s recommendations for colorectal cancer early detection, please visit https://www.cancer.org/cancer/colon-rectal-cancer/early-detection/acs-recommendations.html

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.