Colorectal Cancer Screening

Colon-and-rectal-colonoscopy-by-7-Hill-Gastroenterology-of-FloridaColon and rectal cancer results in over 50,000 deaths in 2012.  Like all cancers, the illness is caused by uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells.  With Colorectal cancer, cells in the colon or rectum become abnormal and divide out of control, forming masses called tumors;  Some may be benign, but often times such abnormal growths can result in life-threatening cancers.  (National Cancer Institute)

Although several factors may contribute to the development of Colorectal cancer, evidence suggests that certain factors and lifestyle choices increase a person’s chance of developing colorectal cancer. Screening and regular examination to remove or reverse the effects of poor digestive health.

At 7 Hills Gastroenterology, our care providers may suggest one or more tests for colorectal cancer screening designed to identify abnormalities that can develop into Colorectal Cancer including:

  • Polyp and nonpolypoid lesion test
  • Fecal occult blood test (FOBT)
  • Sigmoidoscopy; regular, or standard, colonoscopy;
  • Virtual colonoscopy;
  • Double contrast barium enema (DCBE).

Find out if you are at risk by considering the following:

Your Age— Although this disease can occur at any age, most people who develop colorectal cancer are over age 50.

Personal & Familial history—If you have already had colorectal cancer, there is an elevated risk of developing colorectal cancer again. Additionally, women with a history of ovarian, uterine, or breast cancer have a higher than average chance of developing colorectal cancer.  If your parents, siblings, or children have had colorectal cancer, then you are somewhat more likely to develop this type of cancer too.  The more family members that have had colorectal cancer, the greater the chances of it occurring.

Diet & Nutrition—Do you maintain a diet high in red and processed meats?  Does your diet lack sufficient whole foods, grains, fruits and vegetables?  The development of colorectal cancer may be directly associated with such a diet.

Exercise—Do you live a sedentary lifestyle? You may be making your body culpable to increased risk of developing colorectal cancer. Regular exercise may reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer.

Smoking—Increasing evidence from epidemiologic studies suggests that cigarette smoking, particularly long-term smoking, increases the risk of colorectal cancer.

Genetic Disposition for FAP— Are you genetically predisposed to develop polyps or Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)?  Polyps are relatively common in people over age 50.  Most polyps are noncancerous, but significant professional experience indicates that colorectal cancers develop in polyps known as adenomas. Polyps are abnormal growths that protrude from the inner wall of the colon or rectum. Detecting and removing these growths (polypectomy) may help prevent colorectal cancer.  FAP is a rare, genetic condition in which hundreds of polyps develop in the colon and rectum with an extreme likelihood to develop into colorectal cancer.   FAP is often treated with surgery to remove the colon and rectum in an operation called a colectomy or Rectum-sparing surgery. FAP may also be managed with (FDA approved) an anti-inflammatory drug along with surveillance and surgery to manage FAP.

Ulcerative colitis or Crohn colitis—Are you one of the many who suffer from ulcers (sores) or inflammation in the lining of the colon?  Ulcerative colitis can become a serious condition.  When protracted, one may be diagnosed with Crohn colitis (Crohn disease) which causes chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, typically of the small intestine between the stomach and the large intestine. If you have ulcerative colitis or Crohn colitis you may be more likely to develop colorectal cancer.

Stress— Is your lifestyle full of stress?  Do you have difficulty relaxing?  Do you feel the symptoms of digestive disorder and regularly use laxatives of antacids?  Stress and regular use of some drugs can irritate the system and become a contributing factor to Colorectal cancer and other complications related to intestinal health and digestive disease.