colonoscopy, colon cancer

Researchers are reporting that colorectal cancer is killing an increasing number of American adults under 55. The death rate has risen noticeably since the mid 1990s.

Colorectal Cancer Is Killing White People More Often:

The increased mortality is limited to white Americans. African Americans have actually experienced a decline in mortality from this cancer. They are still more likely to die of colorectal cancer than white people of a similar age, however.

What Can We Do?

The authors of the research encourage earlier detection and prompt follow-up of any symptoms such as a change in bowel habits, rectal bleeding, abdominal cramping, fatigue or unexplained weight loss.

Siegel, Miller & Jemal, JAMA, Aug. 8, 2017

People can do some things to reduce their risk of colorectal cancer: quit smoking (Barrow et al, Journal of Pathology, online Aug. 9, 2017); stay fit (Vainshelboim et al, Annals of Epidemiology, July 2017); eat fish or take fish oil (Lee et al, Clinical Nutrition Research, July 2017); and take aspirin if the doctor recommends it (Chen & Stark, Biomedicines, July 18, 2017).

Colorectal cancer screening can also help prevent the development of such cancers. During a colonoscopy, the physician removes any polyps that might turn into cancers. Usually, people schedule an initial colonoscopy around age 50. Perhaps these new data suggest that earlier screening could help save lives.

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