Your health: Screen to stay clean during Colon Cancer Awareness Month
March 5, 2015
TAHOE-TRUCKEE, Calif. — Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. among those cancers that affect both men and women.
But here's the good news — colorectal cancer can be caught though regular screening tests. It is estimated that 60 percent of deaths could be prevented though regular screening.
So what should you do?
If you are between 50 and 75 years, you should get regular screening for colorectal cancer.
Screening tests help to find precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) so that they can be removed. They identify cancer in its early stages when treatment can be the most effective.
It is important to know that precancerous polyps and colorectal cancer do not always result in symptoms. You could have a problem and not know it.
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There is more than one type of screening test. Talk to your doctor to determine which tests are right for you:
Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT): This is a test that you do at home and send to a lab or doctor's office for analysis. This test is designed to identify blood that can't be seen with the naked eye. It is recommended that this test be conducted yearly.
Flexible Sigmoidoscopy: This tests looks for polyps or cancer in the rectum or lower third of the colon. It is recommended that this test be conducted every 5 years with an annual FOBT or every 3 years without FOBT.
Colonoscopy: This test looks for polyps or cancer in the rectum and the entire colon. It is recommended that most people have a colonoscopy every 10 years.
With the Affordable Care Act, colorectal cancer screening tests may be covered by your health insurance policy without a deductible or copay.
The risk of colon cancer increases with age and 90 percent of cases are found in people who are 50 years or older.
Unfortunately, 1 in 3 adults age 50 to 75 are NOT up-to-date with recommended colorectal cancer screenings.
Don't be one of these statistics — if you are not current on your colorectal cancer screening tests, make an appointment today.
This article was submitted to the Bonanza by the Wellness Neighborhood, a service of Tahoe Forest Health System, dedicated to making our community healthy with many outreach programs. Visit tfhd.com to learn more.