Colon Cancer-Nothing To Be Embarrassed About   

Colon Cancer-Nothing To Be Embarrassed About

When it is a matter of life or death, no matter how uncomfortable you may be about colon cancer, take the first step by going for a screening.

Unknown to many, colorectal cancer or colon cancer is one of the most common cancer affecting Malaysian men and the third most common for women. And among all the races here. Its incidence rate is the highest among the Chinese community. To help trigger the awareness on colon cancer, which is not as publicized as breast cancer, is EMPOWERED! The cancer advocacy society of Malaysia launched in April, has taken the first step by setting up its first Colon Cancer Screening Community Project. Though targeted at the underprivileged communities, it is also about providing the general public with cancer and health information.

Early detection is to increasing a patient's chance of surviving this disease. Cancer is not a death sentence. Patients are now able to make informed decisions and take the right steps towards proper treatment.

While the precise cause of colon cancer IS not known, it is possible to detect he disease early, increasing a patient's chance of successful recovery.

However, due to the lack of awareness and proactive screening, many are caught unaware. Globally, according to the American Cancer Society, in 2007 there were about 1.2 million new cases with an estimated 63,000 deaths from the disease every year.

Who is at risk

Screening for colon cancer may leave most of us uncomfortable but if you fall under these risk factors, then you need to take action.

• Risk increases with age and more than 90 per cent of cases here occur in those above 50 years of age

• If you have had a history of polyps (non-cancerous growths in the lining of the large intestine) then take extra care as certain types of polyps can develop into cancer

• If it runs in the family, then you will be at a higher risk of developing the cancer

• A high-fat and low-fiber diet has been linked to the disease's development

• Smoking increases polyps formation

• Overweigh and obese people with a sedentary lifestyle are more likely to develop the disease

• Inflammatory bowel disease, which is rare in Malaysia, is a known risk factor in Western countries.

Screening for Colorectal Cancer

According to the Colon Cancer Alliance in the States, people often shy away from screening due to lack of public awareness about colorectal cancer and the benefits of regular screening.

Most of the time, it is he negative attitudes towards the screening procedures. Most people in general will be held back by embarrassment but a screening is vital. It is recommended for healthy folks above the age of 50 to screen for colon cancer.

Initial screening can be conducted with the Faecal Immunohistochemical Test (FIT). This test is used to detect occult blood in the stool once a year and it reacts to a part of the human haemoglobin protein, which is found in the red blood cells. The FIT can better detect advanced cancerous growths in the colon compared with older Faecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT). The FIT also provides greater simplicity in faecal sample collection and better patient adherence rate. If the results are positive for hidden blood in the stool, then a colonoscopy is required to further investigate the finding.

Colonoscopy is a procedure where a doctor inserts a slender, flexible, lighted tube through the rectum up into the colon. It employs a longer probe than the sigmoidoscopy, allowing your doctor to examine the entire colon (about four to five feet in length) as compared to the sigmoidoscopy, which allows the doctor to view only the final two feet of the colon. Colonoscopy enables the doctor to see inflamed tissue, abnormal growths, ulcers, bleeding, and muscle spasms.


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