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Early Detection Help to Treat Colon Cancer in the Black Community 
By Sentinel News Service 
Published March 2, 2022

 

 

Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men and in women. (Courtesy photo)

 

Early Detection and Treatment Offer Best Hope to Treat Colon Cancer 

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March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month 

With March designated as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, it’s important to know how you can lower your risk of developing this potentially deadly, but treatable, disease that’s expected to claim about 52,580 lives this year.  

That’s especially true since colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men and in women in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. It estimates there will be about 106,180 new cases of colon cancer this year.

Colon cancer is one of the most treatable cancers when detected and treated early, however.

“When colon cancer is found at an early stage, the survival rate can be as high as 90%” said Dr. Karl Kwok, an interventional gastroenterologist with Kaiser Permanente Southern California. “In fact, regular screenings can help detect advanced polyps that are precancerous, and enable us to remove them using techniques that do not require surgery.”

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Can colorectal cancer be prevented?
To a large extent, YES! Most cases of colon cancer are due to sporadic development of precancerous polyps that don’t cause symptoms for a long period of time.

“This is why screening is critical — the earlier we detect and remove these polyps, the less likely they can grow into an advanced polyp and ultimately turn into cancer,” Dr. Kwok explained. “Multiple studies have shown that precancerous colon polyp removal is protective against subsequent development of colon cancer.” 

What methods are used to screen people for colorectal cancer? 

Kaiser Permanente encourages those age 45 and older to undergo screening with one of the following options: 

  • A yearly at-home fecal immunochemical test, also known as FIT. 
  • For  those at average-risk, a sigmoidoscopy every five years. 
  • For those at average risk, a colonoscopy every 10 years. 

What risk factors increase a person’s chance of developing colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer? 

Some of the known risk factors for developing colon cancer include: 

  • Having a diet heavy in red meats and processed meats. 
  • Having a sedentary lifestyle. 
  • Being overweight or obese. 
  • Smoking and heavy alcohol use. 
  • Having a family history of colon cancer, especially a first-degree relative (mother, father, sibling, or child). 
  • Having a personal history of colorectal polyps or a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (a condition that causes chronic inflammation of the colon).

     

  • Your racial and ethnic background or your personal health history; for example, African- Americans have the highest colorectal cancer incidence; people with a history of kidney transplants, and people with Type 2 diabetes also have an increased risk of colorectal cancer. 

Kaiser Permanente offers much information about colorectal cancer and the screening process.  

 

Categories: Family | Health
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