Tag Archives: awareness

Colon cancer rates on the rise in young people

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Listen to your body and be honest with your doctor. Early screening can detect and prevent complications from colon cancer.

As we continue through Colon Cancer Awareness month, our goal is to increase the conversations people have about the disease. Knowing that screenings are by far the most effective way to detect colon cancer early can even work to prevent it altogether.

An unfortunate trend in the fight against colon cancer is a spike in the amount of young people diagnosed. Formerly considered a disease reserved for older men, this new uptick in folks under 40 is disturbing but also mostly unexplained.

“People born in 1990 have twice the risk of colon cancer and four times the risk of rectal cancer as people born in 1950 faced at the same age,” says CBS New York.

For people of an average risk, the standard age to begin screening for colon cancer is 50. The only problem with that guideline is that younger folks are getting missed, often until it’s too late.

While the medical community struggles to pinpoint the cause of the surge, many speculate that changes in lifestyle and diet are to blame.

“Prime suspects include obesity, inactivity and poor diets,” said researchers from the American Cancer Society.

In other words, the behaviors we know are bad for us, and cause health issues across the board, are the likely culprit in the uptick in colon cancer.

While the statistics are alarming, the overall rates of colon cancer in younger people is still low. But that doesn’t mean there’s no lesson in this – be your own health advocate. Listen to your body and work with your doctor to pinpoint when something is wrong.

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March Madness for Colon Cancer Awareness

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The staff of Troy Gastroenterology, Center for Digestive Health, showing their support for Colon Cancer Awareness Month by dressing in blue on March 3.

Every March, the Colon Cancer Alliance celebrates Colon Cancer Awareness month, to push for more support, research and recognition of the struggle the disease incurs.

We lose more than 50,000 Americans every year to colon cancer, with more and more young people turning up with the disease.

“Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women combined in the United States,” says the CCA.

The good news is, with early screening, detection and even prevention is possible. Most cases of colon cancer appear in folks over the age of 50, which is why the current recommendation for colonoscopy is also age 50. Even then, people with a first-degree relative (parent or sibling) are far more likely to develop the cancer than others. For those folks, your doctor might recommend starting your colonoscopy routine even earlier.

How can you help?

Get involved with Colon Cancer Awareness by making a donation. The Salah Foundation matched donations in 2016 to generate more than a quarter million dollars in extra revenue for research.

If you’d rather participate, the CCA hosts the Undy Run/Walk all over the country to raise funds and awareness.

The Never 2 Young campaign is also doing its best to raise awareness about the decreasing age of colon cancer’s victims.

“As the leading national colon cancer patient advocacy organization, we’re dedicated to bringing together the brightest minds to increase screening rates and survivorship,” says N2Y.

This month, show your support for fighters, survivors and family members of folks with colon cancer. Wear blue, join a local event, and donate money. Every little bit counts to get us to a stage of early detection and prevention.

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Colon cancer and exercise: The connection to longevity

Image result for older person exerciseEveryone knows that exercise is the one thing that we could all be getting more of. And even though it can be tough, especially in these cold winter months, now there’s even more of a reason to get moving.

A new study reveals that survivors of colon cancer have a better chance of survival if they engage in some exercise.

“Patients who engaged in at least five hours of non-vigorous physical activity a week had a 25% reduction in the hazard for survival,” says MedPage Today. “With four or more hours of weekly activity, the survival hazard improved by 20%.”

And it seems as though the length of exercise was more important than the vigor. Which is good news for folks who have a difficult time with cardio. Hitting five hours a week showed less progression of the disease and increased longevity.

An hour a day might seem a little steep if you’re just starting out. But you don’t have to jump right into the full schedule – you can work your way up. And, you can do 20-30 minutes at a time a couple times a day to help break it up.

Here are a few ideas to get going. Mix them up to keep things interesting.

  • Map out a walking trail around your office grounds or hallways, and take a break mid-morning and mid-afternoon to do a few laps.
  • If you have a dog, bundle up and get the both of you outside. Just make sure the sidewalks are clear.
  • Take the stairs whenever possible. If you work on a really high floor, get off the elevator three to four floors early and walk the rest of the way.
  • Set up one cleaning project a week, and set aside a half hour each night to work on it.
  • Try some simple yoga moves. Follow simple routines for beginners.
  • Find out what classes are offered at your local community center or school. Also look at your local gym or Y for an affordable weekly class.

While five hours is a great goal, if you know you won’t hit it, don’t set yourself up for failure. Aim to increase your activity level by one hour a week until you hit five.

And remember, “These findings suggest that it doesn’t take a lot of physical activity to improve outcomes,” says MedPage Today. “While exercise is by no means a substitute for chemotherapy, patients can experience a wide range of benefits from as little as 3o minutes of exercise a day.”

 

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September raises awareness for different cancers

Thyroid, prostate, blood, ovarian and childhood cancers are in the spotlight for awareness this month.

September raises awareness for several types of cancer.

The month of September can be a difficult one for many people. As the memory of September 11, 2001 lives on, this month has found a silver lining: Several initiatives to raise awareness for cancer.

As we mentioned last year, September is the month to focus on childhood, thyroid, ovarian, blood and prostate cancers, and what we can do to help.

Since detection, prevention and awareness is the name of our game, we thought we’d give you the run down on each initiative’s plans for this year.

Childhood Cancer

Almost 16,000 people under the age of 21 are diagnosed with cancer each year in the U.S. If you’d like to get involved, you can donate, arrange a corporate event, even have a pajama party in your community.

Find out more about how to help.

Thyroid Cancer

ThyCa tells us that just a simple action can help raise awareness of Thyroid Cancer, even adding an awareness mention in the signature of your email. They only ask one question: Have you had your neck checked?

Learn how you can get involved.

Ovarian Cancer

Approximately 22,000 women a year are diagnosed with ovarian cancer. But, when detected early, the five-year survival rate is staggering (in a good way!). Look for their ads, billboards and information through their YouTube channel

Raise awareness for ovarian cancer.

Blood Cancers

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society does so much research to advance science for detection, prevention and treatment of blood cancers. Their goal this year is to raise $300,000 for the campaign.

Support blood cancer research.

Prostate Cancer

The second leading cause of cancer death in men is on the chopping block. With 29,000 men diagnosed every year, we can do more to get involved. They offer golf programs, home run challenges, plenty of ideas for fundraisers, and simpler forms of support.

See how you can help prevent prostate cancer.

No matter what cause is near to your heart, remember that prevention and early detection are the absolute best way to fight cancer.

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Talk it out: Colon cancer conversations you should have

Colorecatal_Cancer_Awareness_Month_Scrolly_MarchTalking about cancer is never easy. Especially if you come from a family who keeps their medical struggles private. But it’s so important to have conversations with relatives about the issues they face. You can learn a lot about the risks you might face simply by knowing what your genes are predisposed to.

“First-degree relatives – parents, siblings and children – of patients with colorectal cancer or polyps have a two- to three-fold increased risk of developing polyps and colon or rectal cancer,” says Craig Reickert, M.D., in Breaking taboo: Making colon cancer awareness a family affair.

It’s especially important to educate yourself about your family history, because oftentimes, colon cancer comes with no symptoms.

“We’re finding colorectal cancer in younger people under 40,” says Dr. Anezi Bakken, M.D. M.S. at Troy Gastroenterology. “And there are usually no symptoms,” Dr. Bakken adds.

By far the best way to screen for colon cancer is a colonoscopy. But, if you’re still facing resistance from your family about discussing their personal health, Dr. Reickert suggests putting it this way:

You change the oil in your car so you don’t have to replace the entire motor. Colonoscopy is just like that oil change; it’s preventative maintenance to extend your life and avoid invasive treatments down the line, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

The bottom line is that screening is the only way you can get out ahead of colon cancer to have a chance of getting it under control. Even though it’s not curable, it’s definitely controllable if found early enough and treated properly.

And, after talking to your family, it’s even more important to get screened – and screened early – if they’ve had any issues with colon cancer, Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis.

Dr. M. Emin Donat, M.D. F.R.C.P.C. at Troy Gastroenterology, puts it best: “A colonoscopy is easy, painless and can save your life.”

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Are you #IBDAware?

IBD includes Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis.Inflammatory Bowl Disease is inflammation of your digestive tract. The two main conditions of IBD are Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.

This week, the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America is hosting an awareness week, asking, “Are you #IBDAware?” It’s estimated that nearly 700,000 Americans are affected by both Crohn’s and Colitis. That’s almost 1.5 million people dealing with these chronic conditions. However, everyone’s experiences and symptoms can be different, and most of them are manageable with a combination of treatments.

The difference

Crohn’s and Ulceritive Colitis have similar symptoms but affect different areas of the gastrointestinal tract. “Crohn’s most commonly affects the end of the small bowel and the beginning of the colon,” says the CCFA, “but it may affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, from the mouth to the anus.” Ulcerative colitis mainly affects the colon or large intestine.

Diet’s role in care management

Most IBD conditions can be attributed to genetics, but diet can also contribute to well-being. “While your diet is not a cause of your disease and changing your diet will not cure you,” says CCFA, “paying special attention to your diet can help reduce and control your IBD symptoms.” They go on to recommend keeping a food journal to track what you eat. Then when you have a flare up, you can see if there’s any correlation to your diet.

CCFA in Southeast Michigan

The CCFA offers support groups for folks living with IBD. The Michigan Chapter is in Farmington Hills. A combination of paid and volunteer staff work to bring you information and advice while organizing events throughout the community. The Chapter Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC) is comprised of doctors from the area who are dedicated to offering support and furthering awareness about IBD.

In June 2016, there are several “Take Steps” walks, including in Royal Oak and Grand Rapids. The Michigan Chapter also organizes Camp Oasis, a summer camp for children with IBD.

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September is ovarian, thyroid, blood cancer awareness

Help raise awareness for all types of cancers during September.

September is dedicated to raising awareness on a slew of cancers, including ovarian, thyroid and blood cancers.

September is a big month for raising awareness. This year, cancer.org has put several cancers in the spotlight, including ovarian, thyroid, and leukemia and lymphoma.

Ovarian

The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition has partnered with the Dr. Oz Show in 2015 for their “Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer” campaign. You can view clips from the show and find articles and blogs about the fight against the disease on the site.

Ovarian cancer isn’t detectable with a standard pap smear. But there are tests your doctor can do to specifically look for the disease. The NOCC has a list of risk factors and preventive recommendations that you can talk to your doctor about.

The NOCC also wants folks to know that family history isn’t everything when it comes to ovarian cancer. “Most cases of ovarian cancer are sporadic, meaning they occur in women who do not have a family history of ovarian cancer.”

Get more information about detection, prevention and treatment.

Thyroid

Sponsored by ThyCa, the Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association, this initiative is convincing people to “Get a Neck Check” in an effort toward early detection.

According to ThyCa, more than two-thirds of people with thyroid cancer are women and the disease can affect people of all ages. “Early detection is important, because some thyroid cancers are aggressive and difficult to treat,” says ThyCa.

Leukemia and Lymphoma 

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has dubbed September “Blood Cancer Awareness Month.” They’ve set a fundraising goal of $400,000 for the month. And they aren’t just dedicated to curing Leukemia and Lymphoma. They’re reaching for Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma too.

“LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services,” says their mission statement.

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May is National Cancer Research Month

The American Association for Cancer Research recognizes May as Cancer Research Month.

May is National Cancer Research Month.

The American Association for Cancer Research recognizes May as National Cancer Research Month.

If you’re interested in helping, they encourage you to reach out to your legislators and ask for cancer research to be top priority.  “Federal funding for medical research continues to decline, threatening the future health of Americans,” says AACR’s page about National Cancer Research Month. “This is an important time to educate lawmakers about the importance of robust investment in the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health.”

We’d love to hear your stories of survival and spirit. National Cancer Research Month has started the hashtag #RealHopeIs. They’re asking for survivors, supporters, family and friends to share their tales of hope along the journey of cancer.

Find out more on AACR’s Facebook page.

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