Sponsored by: Main Line Health System
Did you know the American Cancer Society estimates that 93,090 new cases of colon cancer and 36,610 new cases of rectal cancer will be found in 2015? Or that they also estimate this disease will be responsible for nearly 50,000 deaths in the United States in 2015?
But above it all, did you know that it's a preventable disease in most cases?
According to Dr. John H. Marks, Chief of Colorectal Surgery for Lankenau Medical Center, part of the Main Line Health System, a simple screening test could do more than keep you colorectal cancer-free — it could save your life.
While the American Cancer Society says that there are more than one million survivors of colorectal cancer (CRC) in the United States, it is still the second-most-common cause of cancer-related deaths among both men and women.
CRC is develops from malignant cells found in the colon or rectum. Because the two have so many features in common the term used for both is often colorectal cancer, as opposed to colon cancer and rectal cancer.
The exact cause of CRC is unknown but there are methods researchers believe help reduce risks. Dr. Marks recommends monitoring your diet, controlling your weight, and exercising; all of which can help reduce your risk. He recommends eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and cutting back on red or processed meat.
He says another prevention method is drug therapy- taking a controlled amount of an anti-inflammatory drug such as aspirin. In postmenopausal women, hormone replacement therapy could be an effective technique. However, it is important to note that these methods can carry their own risks.
Most importantly, Dr. Marks recommends screening tests. In fact, he emphasizes that colonoscopies are still the gold standard for screening tests, allowing doctors to examine the whole length of the large intestine and find problem areas for treatment before they develop into cancerous areas.