Colorectal Screening: Your Best Protection Against Colorectal Cancer

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  • Colorectal Cancer:An Often Preventable Disease

    John M. Dalena, MD Director, Atlantic Gastroenterology at Summit Medical Group Chairman, Morristown Medical Center Department of Gastroenterology


  • About Colorectal Cancer

    Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a common, sometimes deadly diseaseIt is the leading cause of cancer death1 in 3 people who develop colorectal cancer die from the diseaseIt accounts for almost 10 percent of all cancer deaths

  • Who gets CRC?Colorectal cancer is uncommon in people at average risk who are age 50 yearsBut by age 50 years, risk of the disease increases for all people 90 percent of cases occur in people age 50 years

  • What are risks for CRC?Although risk for CRC is mostly acquired, genetic factors can have a roleOther risk includes:AgeGender, with more women than men getting CRCFamily historyEthnicity and racial backgroundGeographic areaSmokingDietary and exercise habits

  • More About CRC RiskRisk for CRC is greater if you have:History of colorectal cancer or polypsInflammatory bowel disease, includingCrohns diseaseUlcerative colitisFamilial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)Hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC) or Lynch syndrome

  • Do you solemnly swearto follow my advice?

  • Screening Matters!Having risk for CRC does not ensure you will get the diseaseHaving little risk for CRC does not ensure you will not get the disease

  • The Good NewsColorectal cancer deaths are declining in the United States! Screening is keyData show an estimated 53 percent of the reduction in colorectal cancer deaths likely result from screening and early detectionBetween 1987 and 2010, screening is likely to have prevented the disease in 500,000 people

  • Reducing CRC RiskKnow your risk Get screenedEat a dietLow in saturated fat, cholesterol, and red meatHigh in fiber and calciumExercise and be activeDont smokeReduce stress

  • CRC ScreeningHelps your doctor find precancerous tissues and remove them before they become cancerousHelps your doctor find and remove CRC in its early stages before it has spread

  • Prepping for ScreeningIs not as difficult as you might think!Its relatively quick Its worth the trouble because screening can save your life

  • Importance of Proper PreppingYour doctor cannot conduct your colonoscopy unless your colon is completely clean!

  • Types of ScreeningFlexible sigmoidoscopyOptical colonoscopyDouble-contrast barium enemaComputed tomography (CT) colonography (virtual colonoscopy)

  • Stool-based TestsGuaiac-based fecal occult blood testImmunochemical-based fecal occult blood test Cologuard fecal DNA testing

  • Which test is best?Colonoscopy is the gold standard for early detection of polyps and cancer.

  • When to Be ScreenedAt age 50 years and every 10 years thereafter if you are at average riskIf you have a adenomatous polyp, your doctor will likely advise you to be evaluated in less than 10 years

  • More Frequent ScreeningIf you have a personal or family history of CRC or adenomatous polypIf you have a genetic syndrome increasing CRC riskHereditary nonpolyposis CRC (HNPCC)Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)One or more first-degree relatives with CRCTwo or more second-degree relative with CRCIBD causing pancolitis or long-term (8 years) diseaseOther health problems that required radiation therapy

  • The Bottom Line

    Know your risk,live a healthy lifestyle, and get screened!