Knowing the facts when it comes to colorectal cancer

Knowing the facts when it comes to colorectal cancer

March is colorectal cancer awareness month. 150,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, with 50,000 dying annually.
When it comes to colorectal cancer, LSU Health Shreveport colorectal surgeon, Dr. Andrew Werner says the odds of preventing it are favorable, "It's very treatable and beatable when diagnosed early."  He continues, "Only 28-48 percent of people who fit the criteria are actually getting sceened."

Those getting screened include those over the age of 50, or with a family history and conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome(IBS) or Crohn's disease. Te symptoms for colon cancer can be noticeable.

Dr. Werner says, "Changes in bowel movement and rectal bleeding." He continues, "Usually when symptoms develop it's more advanced."

Primary treatment is surgery to remove the cancers or polyps, "There are those 40 percent that will need that adjuvant therapy; be it chemotherapy or radiation."

But if detected early, Werner says it boasts a 90% success rate; much of that is due to early screenings, like colonoscopies. 
 
"If we increase our screenings even further, we can further reduce the incidences and mortality from colon cancers;" says Dr. Werner.

He adds there are many myths out there about colon cancer; so it's important to know your risks.

Also, he says the worst part is the preparation for the screening, because you have to drink an unfavorable liquid to help empty the colon.  Most people, Dr. Werner says, sleep right through it.

Other myths include:  it's just a man's disease.  That's not true.  It's just as common in women.  It's better not to get treated, because it's deadly.  That's not true.  It's very treatable and curable, it detected early. 


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