Someone dies from colorectal cancer every 9.3 minutes.
Derek’s a musician and music is his life. When he’s not performing music he’s writing music and when he’s not writing music he’s thinking about it.
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Between performing and networking he hardly has time for anything else. His career is really starting to take off and that’s why when his best friend, Dennis was recently diagnosed with colon cancer, it caught him off guard. Unfortunately music left Dennis little time for distractions, like getting an annual check up. Now he’s fighting for his own life.
Colorectal cancer, less formally known as bowel cancer, is a cancer characterized by neoplasia in the colon, rectum, or vermiform appendix. Colorectal cancer is clinically distinct from anal cancer, which affects the anus.
Colorectal cancers start in the lining of the bowel. If left untreated, it can grow into the muscle layers underneath, and then through the bowel wall. Most begin as a small growth on the bowel wall: a colorectal polyp or adenoma. These mushroom-shaped growths are usually benign, but some develop into cancer over time. Localized bowel cancer is usually diagnosed through colonoscopy.
Invasive cancers that are confined within the wall of the colon (TNM stages I and II) are often curable with surgery, For example, in England and Wales over 90% of patients diagnosed at this stage will survive the disease beyond 5 years. If left untreated, they spread to regional lymph nodes (stage III). In England and Wales, around 48% of patients diagnosed at this stage survive the disease beyond five years. Cancer that metastasizes to distant sites (stage IV) is usually not curable; approximately 7% of patients in England and Wales diagnosed at this stage survive beyond five years.
Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the world, but it is more common in developed countries. More than half of the people who die of colorectal cancer live in a developed region of the world. GLOBOCAN estimated that, in 2008, 1.23 million new cases of colorectal cancer were clinically diagnosed, and that this type of cancer killed more than 600,000 people.
Screening methods for colon cancer depend on detecting either precancerous changes such as certain kinds of polyps or on finding early and thus more treatable cancer. The extent to which screening procedures reduce the incidence of gastrointestinal cancer or mortality depends on the rate of precancerous and cancerous disease in that population. gFOBT and flexible sigmoidoscopy screening have each shown benefit in randomized clinical trials. Evidence for other colon cancer screening tools such as iFOBT or colonoscopy is substantial and guidelines have been issued by several advisory groups but does not include randomized studies.
Guaiac FOB testing of average risk populations may reduce the mortality associated with colon cancer by about 25%. It is not always cost effective to screen a large population.
If colon cancer is suspected in an individual (such as in someone with an unexplained anemia) fecal occult blood tests may not be clinically helpful. If a doctor suspects colon cancer, more rigorous investigation is necessary, whether or not the test is positive.
The 2009 recommendations of the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) suggest that colon cancer screening modalities that are also directly preventive by removing precursor lesions should be given precedence, and prefer a colonoscopy every 10 years in average-risk individuals, beginning at age 50. The ACG suggests that cancer detection tests such as any type of FOB are an alternative that is less preferred and which should be offered to patients who decline colonoscopy or another cancer prevention test. However, two other recent guidelines, from the US Multisociety Task Force (MSTF) and the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) while permitting immediate colonoscopy as an option, did not categorize it as preferred. The ACG and MSTF also included CT colonography every 5 years, and fecal DNA testing as considerations. All three recommendation panels recommended replacing any older low-sensitivity, guaiac-based fecal occult blood testing (gFOBT) with either newer high-sensitivity guaiac-based fecal occult blood testing (gFOBT) or fecal immunochemical testing (FIT). MSTF looked at 6 studies that compared high sensitivity gFOBT (Hemoccult SENSA) to FIT, and concluded that there wereno clear difference in overall performance between these methods.
In colon cancer screening, using only one sample of feces collected by a doctor performing a digital rectal examination is strongly discouraged. (Content courtesy of Wikipedia)
Music is still Derek’s life and his recent visit to his doctor, he has the reassurance that he’s cancer free. Dennis was not so luck.
Don’t be the one who was just too busy!
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