Actor Luke Perry, best known for his role as Dylan on the hit series “90210”, recently shared that he underwent a colonoscopy that revealed precancerous growths, which he subsequently had removed. The actor also lost a friend to colon cancer and his childhood friend’s wife was recently diagnosed with it. Today he is encouraging more people to get screened so that they can catch it early and do something about it, just as he did.
“Right now, there are 23 million Americans who haven’t been screened who need to be screened,” Perry told Fox News. “If I had waited, it could have been a whole different scenario.” “When I heard that this was the most detectable cancer that we know of yet it’s the second most lethal, I just couldn’t figure out why that was and I wanted to get out there and tell people about it.”
Colorectal cancer is cancer in the colon or rectum. It often begins as a polyp – a growth on the inner lining of the colon or rectum. Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States. The American Cancer Society’s estimates for the number of colorectal cancer cases in the United States for 2017 are:
• 95,520 new cases of colon cancer
• 39,910 new cases of rectal cancer
Overall, the lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is about 1 in 21 (4.7%) for men and 1 in 23 (4.4%) for women. This risk is slightly lower in women than in men. Your risk of getting colorectal cancer increases as you age. More than 90% of cases occur in people who are 50 years old or older.
Lifestyle risk factors for colorectal cancer include:
• Inflammatory bowel disease and history of colorectal cancer in first-degree relatives (1)
• Lack of regular physical activity (1)
• Low fruit and vegetable intake (1)
• A low-fiber and high-fat diet
• Obesity (1)
• Alcohol consumption
• Use of tobacco (1)
• Eating processed meats
Protect Yourself from Colorectal Cancer: Virtual Colonoscopy
The best way to protect yourself against colorectal cancer besides preventing it is to get screened for it. If there are any abnormalities, then your best chance at beating cancer is to catch it early so that you can stop it.
Did you know that there is a non-invasive alternative for colon cancer screening? Virtual colonoscopy uses an EBCT (electron beam computed tomography) scan to take pictures of the inside of the colon from outside of your body and allows a physician to examine a colon that may be constricted by swelling or abnormal growth. Virtual colonoscopies have many benefits over conventional colonoscopies, as well.
- Minimally invasive and more comfortable
- Does not use a colonoscope
- Does not require use of a sedative
- Has less risk of colon tearing, or perforation, than conventional colonoscopy
- Lasts about 10 to 15 minutes -Patients can resume normal activities after a virtual colonoscopy
- Uses a colonoscope – a long lighted flexible tube which is placed inside your colon and rectum, and it uses a small camera to send images to a video monitor.
- Usually a sedative is needed
- Risk of colon tearing or perforation
- Lasts 30 to 60 minutes
- Patients usually require recovery time from the sedatives used in a conventional colonoscopy
Who Should be Screened for Colon Cancer?
The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends screening for colorectal cancer beginning at age 50 years and continuing until age 75.
What You Can Do Today to Lower Your Risk
There is convincing evidence that intake of garlic, vitamin B6 and magnesium (6), active living, maintaining a healthy weight and waist, avoiding or reducing red meat, alcohol, and smoking, as well as hormone replacement therapy among women may significantly protect against developing colorectal cancer. (2) Diets rich in fruits and vegetables may lower colorectal cancer risk. In particular, a number of studies demonstrated that cruciferous vegetables and their active compounds elicit chemopreventive potency through multiple mechanisms. (3)
Case-controlled studies have established that there is an inverse correlation between levels of vitamin D and the incidence of polyps and adenomas in the colon, consistent with the inverse correlation between dietary vitamin D3 intake or sunlight exposure and human colorectal cancer. Epidemiological studies suggest that deficiency of vitamin D increases the incidence of colon cancer. (4) Research supports the hypothesis that higher folate intake is modestly associated with reduced risk of colon cancer. (5) A population-based prospective study suggests that a high magnesium intake may reduce the occurrence of colorectal cancer in women. (6)
A large case control study examined the association between fish intake and colorectal cancer risk among Guangdong Chinese population. The results showed that higher intake of fresh fish including freshwater fish and sea fish was associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer. (7)
Tips to Prevent Colorectal Cancer:
• Maintain a healthy body weight
• Regular exercise
• Eat a healthy diet of vegetables and fruits
• Avoid processed meats
• Avoid excess alcohol
• Quit smoking
• Supplement with vitamin D
• Supplement with folate
• Supplement with magnesium
• Eat more fish
• Balance hormones
Have peace of mind knowing that disease can be detected, safely and comfortably, in its earliest stages. Contact us today to schedule your virtual colonoscopy at 281-579-3600.
1. Meta-Analyses of Colorectal Cancer Risk Factors
2. Prevention of Colorectal Cancer and Dietary Management
3. Cruciferous Vegetables and Colorectal Cancer Prevention Through MicroRNA Regulation: A Review
4. Vitamin D and Colon Cancer
5. Pooled Analyses of 13 Prospective Cohort Studies on Folate Intake and Colon Cancer
6. Magnesium Intake in Relation to Risk of Colorectal Cancer in Women
7. Higher Freshwater Fish and Sea Fish Intake is Inversely Associated with Colorectal Cancer Risk Among Chinese Population: A Case-Control Study