Colon Cancer alert! – Chasity Tompkins, Ines Beltran

12 Jul

It is the second leading cause of cancer death. It is a cause of considerable suffering among more than 140,000 adults. It can often go undetected for months or years. It can be prevented or detected early at a curable stage. It’s….Colon Cancer.

This type of cancer develops as polyps, or abnormal growths, inside the colon wall or in the rectum. If these are not removed, they can later become cancerous and could even spread into nearby lymph nodes. Once detected, you should undergo surgical treatment with a chemotherapy follow up. If you do not, the cancer can spread to the liver, lungs, and other sites. Again, surgery will be needed in order to prolong your life.

Patients who…

  • are African American or of Eastern European Jewish (Ashkenazi) descent,
  • have a family history of colorectal cancer,
  • have a history of inflammatory Bowel Disease (Ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease),
  • have Colorectal Polyps or Colorectal cancer,
  • have Type 2 diabetes,
  • have a heavy alcohol use (2 drinks/day for men and 1 drink/day for women),
  • eat red meats and processed meats,
  • smoke,
  • are overweight,
  • are not exercising, or
  • are 50 or older

…should be screened regularly.

colonA lot of times, patients with colon cancer have no symptoms, so it is important to start the screening process at the age of 50. You may also want to start screening early if you have a family history or have symptoms, including but not limited to, constipation or diarrhea that lasts more than a few days, bleeding when you have a bowel movement, dark stool, lower abdominal cramping, unexplained weight loss or unexplained weakness or tiredness.

There are two screening options. If you are 50 years of age or older, it is recommended that you have a colonoscopy. This is completed by your physician! They will look at the walls of the large intestine using a narrow tube with a light and camera on one end. If needed, they will take a sample or biopsy to test at the lab.

If you are below the age of 50 or want to test yourself at home, you can use a Fecal Occult Blood Test, which is simple and easy to use! For this, you take a flushable reagent pad/tissue and place it in the toilet after a bowel movement. These pads/tissues contain chemicals that changes colors when blood is present. You will take note of any color change on a report form included with the materials. After three days of recording information, the report form is sent to a physician for further examination. This way of testing is safe and clean and doesn’t require any handling of the stool!

Your physician may order further testing with a colonoscopy if your Fecal Occult Blood Test comes back positive. The sooner Colon Cancer can be detected, the sooner you can receive treatment! See the link below for more information and to hear from representatives from the Cancer Institute at the Gwinnett Medical Center, the Cancer Society, and the UGA Extension Service in Gwinnett County: https://vimeo.com/159553599

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