Should we screen for colorectal cancer earlier? | Top Vip News


Regular physical activity to counteract all that time we spend at our desks and couches can also help in that regard. “Physical activity improves intestinal health and reduces inflammation”says Whyte. “By increasing intestinal diversity, the amount of harmful bacteria that promote the formation of cancer cells is decreased.”

have the talk

We know we’re not supposed to talk about religion or politics (especially this election year) at the family table, so how about we talk about colon history? It’s equally uncomfortable, but the result can be really useful. Talking to his family about his medical history is very important, Dr. Luo says, because the disease has a genetic component.

“Are polyps hereditary? Is inflammatory bowel disease hereditary because it increases the risk? says Dr. Luo. Sharing your family history with your doctor will help you determine when and what types of screening tests you need. Also, be aware of any changes in your own body, such as changes in bowel habits (constipation? Diarrhea?), blood in your stool, unexplained weight loss, or persistent abdominal discomfort. If you see something, say something. Dr. Luo adds that iron deficiency It is also a telltale sign. for her that there may be something wrong.

Screen, screen, screen

While the numbers seem staggering, it’s important to remember that the risk is still relatively low. What is crucial to curbing colon cancer diagnosis rates is making screening tests available to everyone who needs them. “Screening is the most important preventive method for colorectal cancer,” says Dr. Dahut. And it’s only good if it’s done early, adds Dr. Luo.

Colonoscopy remains the gold standard screening method. This is where a flexible tube with a camera is inserted into the rectum to look for polyps or detect cancer, usually while you are under sedation. If the doctor finds polyps (benign growths of tissue), they may be removed during the procedure. (That’s something, says Dr. Luo, happens 30% of the time.) The biggest drawback is the day of preparation it requires (many laxatives and many hours in the bathroom), but the procedure itself is usually quick and painless.

Then there are stool-based tests like FIT or gFOBT or Cologuardwhich involve collecting droppings in a box and sending them for testing or, starting this year, an expensive home blood test performed by guardian which looks for DNA fragments from tumor cells. But while these can sometimes detect advanced polyps, Dr. Luo says, they are not ideal for detecting early-stage ones. “They are not what I would say is a colon cancer prevention tool because their goal is to detect stage one, two and three colon cancer, not small polyps,” he adds. The goal of colonoscopies is not to find cancer, but to find and remove polyps before they turn into cancer.

If not now when?

The US Preventive Services Task Force recommends that most people Start having regular screenings at age 45. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer or another genetic predisposition, then your doctor may recommend starting at age 40. But if the number of young people diagnosed is on the rise, should we all get tested sooner?

There is growing debate about lowering the age for routine screening, Dr. Whyte says, although he adds that insurance coverage and recommendations lag behind the latest research and trends. What may be more critical than reducing it is ensuring that everyone, regardless of socioeconomic background, has access to screening at the currently recommended age. “We need to do a much better job in terms of addressing disparities in health care,” says Dr. Luo. “Both in terms of access to colonoscopy exams and diagnostic tests.”

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