The word cancer strikes fear into every person. But having cancer is no longer a death sentence and new advances in medications and treatment protocols are increasing survival rates dramatically. A key factor in the treatment is early detection.
If you have a parent who has had cancer, you and close relatives need to be screened for it. While cancer is not a medical condition that is hereditary, having a parent who had the disease does increase your chances of developing it. Cancer can appear with little of no warning. That is why regular cancer screening is so important.
Colon cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer among both men and women. It is typically detected in those above the age of 50 in western world and a decade earlier in Asians and the risk of contracting it increases with age. Colon cancer develops from abnormal tissue growths (called “polyps”) that appear in the colon. In the initial stages, there may be no signs that the polyps have formed. Screening will detect these growths before the condition becomes worse and other symptoms begin to appear. If the growths are detected and at an early stage it is possible to be removed endoscopically by EMR (Endoscopic Mucosal Resection) & ESD (Endoscopic sub mucosal dissection), the risk of cancer is significantly reduced.
Screening Procedures And Options
In the United States,the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has recommended that adults between the ages of 50 and 75 be regularly screened for colon cancer and those above 76 should consult their doctors about the need for screening. The same parameters are applicable in India. In the case of those at higher risk, such as those with a history of cancer in the family, testing should begin as soon as possible and is required. The screening options include:
- Colonoscopy:This is the most popular and common screening method because it not only detects colon cancer, it also finds the polyps from which it a rise. It is the one screening method that is both diagnostic as well as preventative. Advances in medicine and equipment make colonoscopy a far more comfortable and quick procedure than it was years ago.
- Stool Tests: These involve a laboratory examination of the stool to find any signs of cancer or screening test for a larger population
- CT Colonography: CT (Computed tomography) creates a detailed image of the abdomen that may show abnormalities consistent with the presence of cancer, if it is larger than 10mm
Regular Screening = Reduced Risk
The possibility of cancer is high if a parent has suffered from it. The disease can be treated – there new treatment protocols continually appearing that offer the hope of even better results. Once again, early detection is the key to successful treatment endoscopic ally. And regular screening at a specialty hospital is the way. It is a shield that offers the best possible protection from the serious consequences of developing the disease. Your life and health are valuable and screening is the way to protect hem.