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Coronary disease is still the number one killer in the United States. With heart attacks and cardiac arrests leading the assault, heart disease is responsible for over 600,000 deaths each year. The second place is currently occupied by cancer, but it might not remain so for long.
Cancer has become the number one killer in about 22 of the United States and is quickly moving to overtake heart disease as the number one killer nation-wide. The third most commonly diagnosed and lethal form of cancer is colorectal cancer, despite the fact that it’s easy to spot and cure in its incipient stages.
Since the disease is killing more than 200,000 men and women every year just in the United States, here are a few tips on how to avoid colorectal cancer. As expected, the best way to stop colorectal cancer is to spot in time.
This is usually done by going to get colonoscopies. They should become the norm when reaching a certain age – 50 is the agreed upon age – and are supposed to be performed every ten years. For particularly sensitive cases (family history, encountered polyps), these numbers are quite different.
In case of a family history of colorectal cancer, the recommended age to start colonoscopies is around 45. Meanwhile, if pre-cancerous polyps are found and removed, the doctors recommended getting a colonoscopy every three to five years.
Recently, another technique popped up, in which the suspected patient takes a pill and then produces a stool sample for the doctors to analyze. This reveals the existence of pre-cancerous polyps, and the doctors can tell if there’s need for a colonoscopy or not.
Symptoms and Prevention
Sadly, as with most forms of cancer, there are few ways to tell if you’re suffering from them when in their early stages. Some present signs of colorectal would be rectal bleeding, unusual weight loss, uncharacteristic bowel movements, and unexplained abdominal pain.
As expected, unhealthy habits can also lead to an increased risk of developing the disease, including stuff like smoking, drinking excessively, obesity, and even old age and family history. The presence of polyps in the colon can also raise the chances of developing the illness.
These polyps are usually removed if found during a colonoscopy, reducing the chances of developing the disease. Experts still advise that you increase the frequency of your colonoscopies if these polyps are found, as they are generally a precursor to full-blown cancerous tumors.
The most likely ages for developing colorectal cancer are between 50 and 80. Doctors insist that colonoscopies are of utmost importance and that despite their portrayal in the media (and in the above picture), they are completely painless procedures, as the patient is properly anaesthetized.
Image source: Wikimedia