(09/27/12) - What you don't know about Colonoscopies could increase your rick for cancer. It's estimated, this year, 150,000 people will be told they have colon cancer. A staggering 50,000 will die from it.
"Colon cancer is the number two cancer killer in America of both men and women," says Dr. Dzuri Murrell of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
Second only to lung cancer, and Murrell can't understand why people are still dying from it. "Colonoscopies are done to prevent cancer, and I think that's what makes this disease so preventable and so treatable."
A colonoscopy can detect pre-cancerous growths, called polyps. If you are high risk - African Americans or have a family history - you should have your first colonoscopy at 50. Those who are high risk should start at 45.
The prep for colonoscopy is getting better, too. Traditionally, patients would have to drink four liters of an awful tasting, prescribed liquid the day before a colonoscopy. There is a new, smaller dose prescription prep. There is also an over the counter version, some doctors like.
It is a combination of 64 ounces of Gatorade, 230 grams of Miramax and three tablespoons of milk of magnesia. Talk to your surgeon about your best option.
To cut your risk of colon cancer, you can drop a few things from your diet. The Texas medical association days hotdogs should go because they are full of nitrites and increase the risk of cancer. The American Cancer Society advises that pork may worsen colon health because it's high in fat and iron.
Murrell says beef is considered the number one food to avoid for colon health. "We know the people who don't get it, don't eat a lot of red meats."
Soon there may be an at-home screening test to make the entire process even easier and more private. The experimental DNA test can find abnormalities in a person's stool and possibly alert them to any pre-cancerous tumors. In one study, the DNA test detected 87 percent of colorectal cancers in curable stages.
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