Presentation on theme: "March is COLORECTAL CANCER AWARENESS Month Information courtesy of American Cancer Society and UnitedHealth Care."— Presentation transcript:
March is COLORECTAL CANCER AWARENESS Month Information courtesy of American Cancer Society and UnitedHealth Care
Colorectal Cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosis and the leading cause of cancer death in the United States.
The good news is there are steps you can take that may help prevent it, or improve your chances of beating it.
Colorectal Cancer is more commonly referred to as “Colon Cancer”.
Live Well to Protect Yourself A healthy lifestyle may help protect against colorectal cancer: Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Try to achieve a low-fat diet that also is rich in fiber. Get enough folic acid, vitamin D and calcium. Talk with your doctor or a dietitian to find out how much you need. Exercise regularly. Aim for 30 minutes a day most or all days of the week. Don’t smoke.
Get Screened Colorectal cancer first develops as colorectal polyps. These growths in the colon or rectum may become cancerous over time. Regular screening can prevent colorectal cancer by finding and removing the polyps before they develop into cancer. More than 90 percent of colorectal cancers can be cured when caught early.
There are four common types of screening tests for colorectal cancer: Fecal occult blood test — looks for tiny amounts of blood in a stool sample *Flexible sigmoidoscopy — a doctor passes a tiny camera through the lower part of the colon *Colonoscopy — a doctor uses the tiny camera to examine the entire colon Double contrast barium enema — your doctor x-rays your colon
Talk to your doctor about which screening test is right for you. Your age, lifestyle, medical history and family history are huge contributing factors to consider when talking to your physician about which screening method is right for you!
For most Americans, screening should begin at age 50. If you are at higher risk, your doctor may want you to be screened earlier. Talk with your doctor if you or anyone in your family has had colorectal cancer, polyps or certain hereditary conditions. You should also note if you have a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (IBS). Your doctor will tell you how often you should be screened, as well as which test is preferred for your situation!
Watch for Symptoms Talk to your doctor if you have any symptoms of colorectal cancer, including: A change in your bowel habits Diarrhea, constipation or vomiting Blood in your stool, or change in the appearance or quality of your stools Frequent stomach problems such as gas, bloating or cramping Unexplained fatigue or weight loss
What is a colonoscopy? A colonoscopy is an exam that allows a doctor to see and closely look at the inside of the entire colon for signs of cancer or polyps. Polyps are small growths that overtime can become cancer. The doctor uses a slender, flexible, hollow, lighted tube about the thickness of a finger. This "colonoscope“ is gently eased inside the colon and has a tiny video camera, which sends pictures to a TV screen. Small puffs of air are put in the colon to keep it open and allow the doctor to see clearly. The exam itself takes 15 to 30 minutes. Patients are usually given medicine to help them relax, which often puts them to sleep during the procedure. Your doctor decides how often you need this test, usually once every 10 years, depending on your personal risk for colon cancer. It's important for people to talk with their doctor to understand their personal risk for getting colon cancer, the guidelines they should follow for testing, and whether they need to start being tested at age 50 or earlier.
What is a sigmoidoscopy? During a sigmoidoscopy, a doctor closely inspects the lower parts of the colon, called the sigmoid colon and the descending colon, for signs of cancer or polyps. Polyps are small growths which can over time become cancer. The doctor uses a slender, flexible, hollow, lighted tube about the thickness of a finger. This "sigmoidoscope" is gently eased inside the colon and has a tiny video camera, which sends pictures to a TV screen. Small puffs of air are put in the colon to keep it open and allow the doctor to see clearly. The exam takes 15 to 20 minutes and the patient usually doesn't need medicine.
Will it hurt? No, these two exams are not painful. For the most part, patients are given medicine to sleep through the colonoscopy, so they won't feel anything. Sigmoidoscopy doesn't require medicine to make the patient sleepy, so some patients find the air pressure to be uncomfortable. Air is pumped into the cleaned-out colon so it will hold its normal size and doctors can get the best pictures. While it may be slightly uncomfortable, it should not hurt.
How do I prepare? Will I need to miss work? The preparation for the colonoscopy requires you to go the bathroom a lot! You follow a special diet the day before the exam and take very strong laxatives in the hours before the procedure. You may also need an enema to cleanse the colon. The key to getting good pictures is to have the colon cleaned out. Preparation for a sigmoidoscopy is much the same. Because colonoscopy is usually done under sedation, people usually will miss a day of work. People should ask their doctors whether they'll need to miss work before a sigmoidoscopy. For either test you'll need to stay close to a bathroom. You might want to schedule the procedure for a Monday, so you can be at home the day before without taking a day off work.
How will I feel afterward? Will I need someone to drive me home? Most people feel OK after a colonoscopy. They may feel a bit woozy. They'll be watched and given fluids after the procedure as they awaken from the anesthesia. They may have some gas, which could cause mild discomfort. Because of the sedation that is given for the test, most facilities ask that you bring someone to take you home. After a sigmoidoscopy, you get up and walk out. There should be no problem driving yourself home, as long as you have not had any drugs to make you sleepy during the test.
Why are colorectal screening tests SO important? Removing polyps prevents colorectal cancer from ever starting. And cancers found in an early stage are more easily treated. Nine out of 10 people whose colon cancer is discovered early will be alive 5 years later. And many will live normal life spans. But too often people don't get these tests. Then the cancer can grow and spread unnoticed, like a silent invader. In many cases, by the time people have any symptoms the cancer is very advanced and very difficult to treat.
Early Detection is the Best Protection! It is up to you to take that first step
Vermilion Parish School Board Wellness Department