March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
Plano, TX / http://www.myprgenie.com/ March 18, 2014 / Since the year 2000, March has been known as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Although colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, it also is one of the most detectable and treatable forms if it is found early enough, reports the Colon Cancer Awareness Alliance. Star Medical Center gastroenterologist Dr. Jeffrey Fine says early detection is vital.
"Polyps are growths in the colon or rectum that can become cancerous. When polyps are found, they're removed. Finding them before they become cancerous or before the cancer has a chance to spread greatly increases the cure rate," says Dr. Fine.
He suggests all patients over the age of 50 should schedule regular screenings, and those in high-risk groups should schedule them sooner. "Patients who have a personal or family history of polyps or colon cancer and those in high-risk groups, such as African Americans, should schedule regular screenings no later than age 45."
Dr. Fine adds that colon cancer screenings should become more affordable for many Americans this year thanks to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Previously a patient's insurance or Medicare program usually paid for the colonoscopy, but often the patient was responsible for the removal and pathology of any polyps found. Now, removal and pathology costs should be covered under the Affordable Care Act, explains Dr. Fine.
In addition to regular screenings, Dr. Fine suggests the following for optimal overall health:
- When taking medication of any kind, follow all directions in their entirety.
- Eliminate triggers like gluten and non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory (NSAIDS) medications.
- Drink at least one ounce of water per kilogram per day, preferably filtered whenever possible.
- Reduce exposure to chemicals found in make-up, perfume, hairspray, nail polish and other personal products, as they may cause inflammation in the body.
- Keep alcohol consumption to a minimum.
- Establish a regular exercise routine and stretch before and afterward to relieve muscle tension and reduce injury. Kegel and pelvic floor exercises are particularly good for colon health.
- Consider yoga. Certain yoga poses can aid in digestion and help improve some gastrointestinal conditions.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with and 50,000 die from colorectal cancer each year. A few warning signs the CDC suggests people look for include: blood in or on the stool; stomach pain, aches or cramps that do not go away; and unexplained weight loss.
"If you're experiencing any warning signs, are over the age of 50 or are in a high-risk group, make an appointment with your doctor for a screening as soon as possible. It might save your life," says Dr. Fine.
Star Medical Center offers surgical services in spine; orthopedics; foot and ankle; breast reconstruction; ear, nose and throat; gynecology; and gastroenterology. Its physicians are highly trained, skilled specialists who are dedicated to providing exceptional patient services in a first class environment. A division of Lumin Health in Irving, Texas, Star Medical Center is affiliated with SpineCARE - a nationally acclaimed, comprehensive spine center - and OrthoCARE(TM), which specializes in orthopedics, foot and ankle care, and sports medicine. For more information, call 1-888-600-6474 or 972-265-1050, or visit starmedcenter.com, spinecaredfw.com or orthocaredfw.com.
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