Navigation Links
Get Screened for Colorectal Cancer: Who, Me?

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, July 1 (HealthDay News) -- It may sound simple: Colorectal cancer is generally considered one of the most preventable types of cancer that people can develop. So get screened and prevent it.

But the devil is in the details. Cancer experts have found much confusion regarding the guidelines for when and how people should be screened for colon cancer.

A precise colorectal cancer screening can locate pre-cancerous polyps within the colon. Polyps can be removed and, once gone, their potential to cause colon cancer is gone, too.

However, a study released last fall by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that only one in five doctors in the United States follow all recommended colon cancer screening guidelines. Most correctly recommend that screening begin at age 50, but they're inconsistent in describing the screening options and how often they should be utilized, the CDC reported.

"We have made some progress getting physicians on board with screening, but now we need to make sure they know which tests work, which tests don't work, and that there can be too-frequent testing," said Dr. Durado Brooks, director of prostate and colorectal cancers for the American Cancer Society.

The result has been a lot of head-scratching among patients, cancer experts say.

"I work a lot with the public, and there's definitely unfamiliarity with what age to begin getting screened, and which screening tool to use," said Suzette Smith, the Prevent Cancer Foundation's director of partnerships for colorectal cancer screening.

About 142,570 new cases of colorectal cancer were reported in 2010, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, and about 51,370 people died from the disease.

Most of those deaths could have been prevented through screening, the CDC maintains, but nearly half of all colorectal cancers are not detected until they've reached a late stage, according to the agency.

Part of the problem involves a lack of awareness, Brooks said. "There are a number of different tests available for screening, and patients need to be made aware of their options so they can take the test they are comfortable with," he said.

Colonoscopy has long been regarded as the "gold standard" for colon cancer screening, Smith said. And with good reason: It is a very thorough test, and doctors can remove any polyps as they find them without making people undergo a second procedure.

But some people remain reluctant to have a colonoscopy, Brooks said. Again, with good reason: Preparing for a colonoscopy can be quite unpleasant, and it is an invasive procedure that requires sedation and comes with some risk, though small.

"It's not a procedure you want people to go through if they don't need to have the test," Brooks said. "On the other hand, colonoscopy is the test that needs to be performed if any of the other tests come back abnormal."

The CDC's recommendations for colon cancer screening actually call for a mix of screening tests. Starting at age 50, the agency says, people should receive:

  • A high-sensitivity fecal occult blood test every year. This test checks for hidden blood in stool samples. "Those tests have been shown to decrease the chance of developing and dying from colon cancer," Brooks said.
  • A flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years. In this test, physicians use a flexible, lighted tube to visually inspect the interior walls of the rectum and part of the colon. It's a shorter tube, so the screening covers only the lower third of the colon. "That's where the majority of cancers start, so it is a fairly effective test," Brooks said.
  • A colonoscopy every 10 years. The longer tube, also flexible and lighted, used in this test is capable of examining the entire length of the colon. Physicians also can send instruments down through the tube to collect biopsies or remove polyps.

The American Cancer Society recommends other screening options. For instance, people could have either a barium enema or a virtual colonoscopy every five years in lieu of a flexible sigmoidoscopy, if they so chose.

Virtual colonoscopy is the most recent screening test to be developed for colon cancer. It involves the use of CT scans to inspect the lining of the colon. And virtual colonoscopy has grown in credibility in recent years.

"There have been now enough large studies in multiple settings to show that virtual colonoscopy is almost as good as traditional colonoscopy in detecting cancers, and it also does a good job at detecting large polyps," Brooks said.

But there are downsides, Smith said. People undergoing virtual colonoscopy have to endure the same unpleasant preparation rituals used for regular colonoscopy. And, if anything is found, they will have to have a regular colonoscopy for further examination and treatment.

One more thing people should keep in mind, she said: Everyone -- not just men -- should be screened for colon cancer.

"A popular misconception is that colon cancer affects only men, when it affects men and women at equal rates," Smith said.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about colorectal cancer.

A companion article looks at one state's effort to improve its dire statistics on colorectal cancer.

SOURCES: Durado Brooks, M.D., M.P.H., director, prostate and colorectal cancers, American Cancer Society; Suzette Smith, director, Partnerships for Colorectal Cancer Screening, Prevent Cancer Foundation; Oct. 14, 2010, Journal of General Internal Medicine, online; Nov. 24, 2010, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Surveillance of Screening-Detected Cancers (Colon and Rectum, Breast, and Cervix) United States, 2004-2006

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Young minority women screened at higher rate for chlamydia than young white women
2. Women with personal history of breast cancer should be screened with MRI
3. Children in Intensive Care Should Be Screened for MRSA
4. Mayor Reed Urges Older Adults in Atlanta to Get Screened for Diabetes
5. now Helping Chicago, Dallas and Houston Businesses Find Pre-Screened IT Companies
6. Kentucky Goes on the Offensive Against Colorectal Cancer
7. The cellular root of colorectal cancers?
8. Following colorectal cancer surgery, longer delay before chemotherapy associated with worse survival
9. Study finds patient navigation increases colorectal cancer screening in ethnically diverse patients
10. Patient navigators appear to improve colorectal cancer screening rate in ethnically diverse patients
11. Race Seems to Play Role in Colorectal Cancer Screening
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Get Screened for Colorectal Cancer:  Who, Me?
(Date:10/13/2015)... GA (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2015 , ... ... nonprofit promoting the establishment of telemedicine programs in communities throughout Georgia, along with ... announce the collective schedule for their regional telehealth summits for Fall 2015. ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... According to an ESPN ... orbital fracture when a teammate accidentally elbowed him in the left eye during the ... injury is just one of a series of setbacks, including a knee injury that ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... In an ... PediaPlex , a Southlake, Texas, child development and pediatric therapy center, is ... educating military families about their options for receiving this kind of care for ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... Niguel, CA (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2015 ... ... tools, announced the release of a new PDF automation tool to batch ... regulations, and business mandates with 100% document fidelity. , CADConverter eliminates the complexity ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... , ... October 13, 2015 , ... ... winning programs Elder Care Doula Training and End of Life Doula Training. ... a holistic model, physically, spiritually and emotionally. Based on her #1 International ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/13/2015)... 8, 2015 Research and Markets ( ... Anti-counterfeit Pharmaceuticals and Cosmetics Packaging - Market Opportunities and ... --> --> ... at a CAGR of 15.7% during 2015-2020 ... technology segment accounted for about 52% share in 2014 ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... the United States . By early next ... --> the United States . By early next ... --> The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Elekta ... (1.5 Tesla) MRI-guided linear accelerator in the United States ... in a non-clinical capacity. Royal Philips (NYSE: ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... COSTA MESA, Calif. , Oct. 12, 2015 ... reaffirmed the accreditation of Harbor Compounding Pharmacy in ... accreditation is awarded in recognition of the pharmacy,s ... --> ... --> ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: