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This Month is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month- Why is it Important to Get Checked?

Posted: 3/16/2018 8:51 AM by Interim HealthCare
This Month is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month- Why is it Important to Get Checked?  March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. This is an important cancer to talk about. It's equally important that your parents get tested. In 2017, more than 135,000 positive cases were diagnosed. More than 50,000 died from colon cancer. The earlier it's caught, the better the outcome.
 
According to Cancer.gov, catching the growths while they're still localized gives the person a five-year survival rate of 89.9 percent. If it's caught after it's spread certain nodes, the survival rate drops to 71.3 percent. If it metastasizes, the survival rate plummets to 13.9 percent. It is very important to get tested from the time you turn 50.
 
Understanding the Progression of Colorectal Cancer
 
Colorectal cancer starts as a polyp that forms on the inside of the rectum or colon. Over a span of as much as 15 years, these polyps can become cancerous. The odds of them becoming cancerous depend on the form. Adenomas are pre-cancerous while hyperplastic tend to be benign.
 
The key to preventing colorectal cancer is to find the polyps before they change. There are a few tests that can be performed. There is a stool test that checks for blood in the stool. That test is not invasive, but it's not going to catch the polyps.
 
To spot polyps, doctors often insert a scope into the anus, rectum, and colon and look at live images on a screen. This is called a colonoscopy. The scope is done after a sedative is given. You have to have someone available to drive you home following the test.
 
The colonoscopy is the best way to catch and remove polyps. It's not an option for everyone. A virtual colonoscopy involves a CT scan of the colon and rectum. This test is often used when sedatives are an issue for one reason or another. Another option, though not as commonly used, are to have x-rays taken after a barium enema.
 
What if Cancer is Found?
 
If the doctor finds cancerous polyps, the next step involves finding out if it's spread to other areas of the body. This helps the oncologist decide how to best treat the cancer. Surgery to remove the tumors may be necessary. Radiation and chemotherapy are other options.
 
After a surgical removal, your mom or dad will need to take it easy. Hire a senior care professional for at least a few weeks to help lift heavier objects, such as laundry baskets, and to vacuum, sweep, and mop. A caregiver can also help cook meals and make sure your parent takes medications on time. Call a senior care agency to learn more.

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