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  • Writer's pictureDr. Raisa Lerner

Colorectal Cancer Screening and Prevention

Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers worldwide and the fourth most common cause of death due to cancer, with an estimated 700,000 deaths per year. Approximately one in three people diagnosed with colorectal cancer dies of this disease within five years after diagnosis. Removal of colon polyps can prevent the cancer, and removal of localized cancer may prevent death from this type of cancer.

A family history of colorectal cancer puts you at a higher risk of developing this disease than someone who does not have a family history of colorectal cancer. If you do have a family history of colorectal cancer, it is important to discuss earlier screening with your doctor. Both a genetic predisposition and lifestyle factors such as diet, smoking, obesity and lack of exercise can contribute to your chance of developing colorectal cancer. For example, there is strong evidence that consuming processed meat, red meat and alcoholic drinks increase the risk of colorectal cancer. There is also strong evidence that wholegrains, foods containing dietary fiber, dairy products and calcium supplements decrease the risk of colorectal cancer.

Both the incidence of and mortality rates from colorectal cancer have been declining in the United States because more people are being screened which means the cancer can be detected earlier. The slow transition from polyps to colorectal cancer in most patients allows opportunities to prevent cancer by removing polyps and to prevent cancer death by finding and removing early cancers.

Multiple screening tests are available to detect precancerous polyps or early-stage cancers of the colon/rectum:

STOOL-BASED TESTS such as FIT test which can be done at home and then returned via mail DIRECT VISUALIZATION such as colonoscopy which is the preferred method of screening based on your age and risk factors BLOOD-BASED MARKERS are the newest type of tests and, although FDA approved, are not recommend as primary screening tests IMAGING such as CT colonography is available but not widely used

Knowing your family history and your personal health history allows us at Spry to be better in tune with your preventative needs and know how to determine what screenings are necessary to proactively prevent colorectal cancer.

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