Nothn’ Butt A Checkup

drkermit

 Early screening is the key to discovering what lurks inside!
Sometimes Screening is the Cure!

So imagine that there’s a way of preventing the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., one that 1 in every 20 people develop in a lifetime.

You would take steps to prevent it, wouldn’t you?
Your wife, husband, significant other would make you take steps to prevent it, wouldn’t they?

 

Colorectal Cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths and it is the one form of cancer which can be prevented.

 

What is Colorectal Cancer?

Like all cancers, colorectal cancer is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells that develops in the rectum or colon (the large intestine).  Colorectal Cancer often begins as a polyp –  a benign growth on the interior surface of the colon.  While most polyps remain benign, some have the potential to become cancerous.  Removing polyps early can be a very effective way of preventing colorectal cancer.

 

 

There are things you can do to reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer.  Some risk factors you  . . .

CAN’T Control
Age
History of childhood polyps
Inflammatory bowel disease
Family history of colorectal cancer
History of ovarian or breast cancer
CAN Control
Diets high in red meat
or processed meats
Being overweight
Exercising too little
Smoking or drinking alcohol

 

You can reduce your risk of colorectal cancer by about 45% by eating a nutritious diet, getting regular physical exercise, and controlling body fat.  The National Cancer Institute recommends a low-fat diet that includes plenty of fiber and at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day.  You can reduce your risk of colorectal cancer by about 24% with regular physical activity.  The American Cancer Society recommends exercising 5 or more days a week for at least 30 minutes a day.  This is consistent with the Surgeon General’s recommendation for physical exercise.

 

Warning Signs

First off, there are often no warning signs at all.  That’s why regular screening is so important.  As the disease progresses, however, symptoms may include:

  • Bloody stools; “pencil” (very narrow) stools
  • Chronic abdominal pain
  • Prolonged constipation or diarrhea
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Unexplained fatigue

By the time these symptoms appear, tumors tend to be larger and more difficult to treat.

 

Colorectal Cancer Screening

Regular and timely screenings are the key to early detection and cancer prevention.

Most men and women should have their first colonoscopy at age 50.  However, for African-Americans, people with a history of multiple colon polyps, or certain other conditions, it may be best to start at  40.  Discuss what’s best for you with your personal health care provider.  How often you need to have a subsequent test is based on many factors and is determined following your first screening.

A colonoscopy involves using a small camera to examine the entire colon.  These tests not only find tumors early, but can actually prevent colorectal cancer by removing polyps.  The person undergoing colonoscopy is mildly sedated and you should not experience any pain.  The examination itself takes very little time.  The somewhat time consuming part is the prep – consuming a special liquid preparation the day before your exam that “cleans out” your colon.  The preparation is as important as the test itself.  You’ll want to have as clean and empty a colon as possible.

 

Is it time for you or a family member’s colonoscopy?

It ain’t nothin’ butt a check-up!

 

For more information, check out these resources-

 National Cancer Institute Colon and Rectal Cancer http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/colon-and-rectal

American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org/

Behavioral Science Services at 213-252-3090 for more information on cancer, behavioral health and nutrition.

 LAPD Cancer Support Group.  Contact Sgt. Mary Kite, Department Wellness Coordinator’s office at 213-944-6819.