POMEROY — March is National Colon Cancer Awareness Month, and the Meigs County Cancer Initiative (MCCI) joins the American Cancer Society in reminding everyone that there are preventive measures which can be taken to reduce the risk.
As the American Cancer Society celebrates its 100th birthday this year, it is emphasizing the importance of age-appropriate colorectal cancer screening. An estimated 50,830 deaths from colorectal cancer are expected to occur in 2013, accounting for 9 percent of all cancer deaths.
The Society is also recommending preventative measures individuals can take to reduce their risk of developing the disease. Adults should maintain a healthy weight, get plenty of physical activity, and eat a diet that is high in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, and low in red and processed meats. In addition, limiting alcohol intake can also help reduce your risk of this disease. For information about colon cancer screening and nutrition and physical activity recommendations visit www.cancer.org/coloncancer .
Colorectal cancer is highly treatable if found in its early stages, and half of all colon cancer deaths in the United States could be prevented if everyone followed recommended screening guidelines. Most people should start getting screened for colorectal cancer at age 50, but people with a family history are at higher risk and may need to be screened earlier.
“Colon cancer is a leading cancer killer - but it doesn’t have to be. Everyone 50 and older should get tested for colon cancer. It’s one cancer you prevent, treat, and beat!” declared Dr. Carmen Guerra, vice president of the American Cancer Society East Central Division Board of Directors. She also serves as the associate professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and associate chief of staff at the Abramson Cancer Center at the Perelman School of Medicine.
Colon cancer death rates have dropped by more than 30 percent during the past two decades thanks in part to the progress made by the Society. The Society is working with community partners to provide education and access to colon cancer screening in communities that are hardest hit by the disease. Society-funded research has led to improved understanding regarding the link between diet and colorectal cancer, and the development of drugs to treat colorectal cancer. In addition, the Society and its advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action NetworkSM, are working to ensure that all Americans who need colorectal cancer testing and treatment have access to them. The Society recommends the following tests to find colorectal cancer early:
Tests that detect precancerous polyps and cancer:
• Flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years, or
• Colonoscopy every 10 years, or
• Double contrast barium enema (DCBE) every five years, or
• CT colonography (CTC) every five years.
Tests that primarily detect cancer:
• Annual guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) with high test sensitivity for cancer (Older versions of the Fecal Occult Blood Test should not be used to screen for colorectal cancer), or
• Annual fecal immunochemical test (FIT) with high test sensitivity for cancer (Older versions of the Fecal Occult Blood Test should not be used to screen for colorectal cancer), or
• Stool DNA test (sDNA), with high sensitivity for cancer.