Tag Archives: cancer awareness

Colon cancer rates on the rise in young people

Image result for young person at doctor

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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It’s time to quit smoking for your colon health

Image result for quit smokingWe all know smoking is bad for us. We also know how much it sucks to try to quit. And while you’ve probably heard all of the advice in the world and all of the complications it can cause, now, there’s another reason to quit: Colon cancer recovery.

A new study suggests that folks who smoke aren’t as likely to survive the fight against colon cancer as former smokers or those who never smoked.

And to make matters worse, upon diagnoses, smokers were more likely to be in an emergency situation or need immediate surgery.

“People are generally deniers especially when it comes to pleasurable habits or when a life style change is recommended for their health,” said Dr. Sidney Winawer of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

So what can you do?

The most effective way to quit is to work with your doctor to create a plan or to join a support group. Any time you’re looking to kick a bad habit, having support from a community or partner creates a level of accountability that is difficult to replicate on your own.

“Your doctor can be a key resource as you’re trying to quit smoking. He or she can talk to you about medications to help you quit and put you in contact with local resources,” says The American Lung Association.

The ALA has all sorts of other resources to help you make sense of what to expect and how to be successful at quitting. Check out their I Want To Quit Smoking page for reasons, facts, frequently asked questions and support you can get from the ALA itself.

Smoking is the worst thing you can voluntarily do to your health. Make an appointment with your doctor and commit to making yourself healthier.

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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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More young people diagnosed with colon cancer

Colon cancer cases are increasing in folks under 50 years of age.

There have been an increasing number of cases of colon cancer in people under 50.

We often think of colon cancer as a disease only older people have to worry about. But lately, there have been reports of more people under 50 being diagnosed with colon cancer.

According to CBS News, one in seven people who have colon cancer are under 50. Most younger people who are diagnosed have a later stage cancer. But there’s good news: the rate of survival without recurrence is also higher in younger folks.

Conflicting views

The current recommendation for colon cancer screenings is to start at age 50. For people with a family history of the disease, it’s a whole decade earlier, at age 40.

A new study is recommending earlier screenings for everyone by lowering the age to 40 or 45 across the board. But many insurance plans don’t cover colonoscopies for people under the recommended age or those without a family history of the disease.

According to Record Searchlight, “Several surgeons who conducted the study said that shows the recommended age for screening needs to be younger than current guidelines.” But many in the medical community are waiting for more conclusive statistics before making that claim.

What you can do

As always, pay attention to your body. If something feels off, tell your doctor. Symptoms of colon cancer aren’t always obvious. They can be as simple as fatigue, bloating, nausea or constipation.

Dr. Suryakanth Gurudu, a gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic, recommends a less invasive approach, such as a stool sample. “We still don’t have large population-based studies that show cost effectiveness by decreasing the age to 40 years,” says Dr. Gurudu.

The risk of developing colon cancer during your younger years is still low. But if you have a family history or suspicious symptoms, talk to your doctor about your options.

Never Too Young

The Never Too Young (N2Y) coalition works to raise awareness of colon cancer cases in young people. They recognize the problems you can face with your insurance company or other barriers to treatment.

“Too often we hear stories from folks in this group who are facing additional screening and diagnosis hurdles due to their age,” says N2Y.

Visit the Colon Cancer Alliance site for more information.

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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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Never Too Young for Colon Cancer: Young Survivors Week

Colon cancer doesn't care about your age.

The Colon Cancer Alliance has started the N2Y campaign: Never Too Young for Colon Cancer.

The Colon Cancer Alliance has started the N2Y campaign: Never Too Young for Colon Cancer. Every June, the CCA puts the spotlight on folks under 50 who have been diagnosed with the disease.

Their goal is to push for prevention, early detection and appropriate treatment. The Alliance reports that around 10% of cases in the U.S. are people under 50. They’re also fighting to get the recommended age of screenings to start at 40, especially for those with a family history.

It can be difficult to convince young people to get serious about their risk of colon cancer and getting screened young. But that’s what the Never Too Young campaign wants to change.

“…cancer doesn’t care how old you are. And colon cancer, although considered an older man’s disease, can strike anyone at any time. The hard reality: you’re never too young for colon cancer. That’s why we need to educate ourselves about the risks of this disease now.”

There are lots of ways you can get involved. The Colon Cancer Alliance has volunteer and advocate opportunities, organizations you can donate to, and guidance on programs and events and how to host your own.

Cancer takes too many people as it is – let’s band together with the Colon Cancer Alliance to make sure we do all we can to prevent those losses at such early ages.

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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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The fastest-growing cancer in the country: Esophageal

Esophageal Cancer Awareness month is April each year.

ECA is the fastest-growing cancer in the U.S.

Cases of esophageal cancer are growing rapidly in the U.S. The disease can be easily disregarded as something less serious, since the risk factors and symptoms are so common.

Risk factors and symptoms

Dr. Anezi Bakken, MD MS in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology, says that white men over 50 who drink, smoke or are overweight are at the highest risk. Chronic heartburn also increases the risk, since the acid produced can lead to erosion of your esophageal tissue.

The symptoms are easy to shrug off. Regular burping or belching, hoarseness, indigestion, chest pain, sore throat and even throat clearing can all be indicators of esophageal cancer.

People with GERD could actually end up with Barrett’s esophagus – a more serious condition that can eventually lead to esophageal cancer. Barrett’s esophagus is a condition in which the lining of the lower esophagus has been damaged by repeated exposure to stomach acid.

If you’re chronically on PPIs for GERD, you may be at a higher risk.

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April is Esophageal Cancer Awareness month!

April is Esophageal Cancer Awareness month.

Esophageal cancer is a rare type of cancer that affects more than 15,000 people in the U.S. each year.

Esophageal cancer is a rare yet aggressive type of cancer. The Esophageal Cancer Awareness Association says that there are more than 15,000 cases each year in the U.S. The disease usually targets folks who are 50 and older, though there are more cases in younger adults occurring each year.

“Cancer of the esophagus can start anywhere along the length of the esophagus,” says the ECAA. “Each develops in a different kind of cell.” You can read more about the different types on the ECAA website. 

The most common type is squamous cell. The people who are most at risk for this type are heavy drinkers and smokers. This type affects the upper and middle parts of the esophagus.

Adenocarcinoma is a less-common type linked to acid reflux and obesity. This type starts in the lower part of the esophagus, usually at the point where it meets the stomach.

Throughout April, we’re going to talk to some of the doctors at Troy Gastro to get some insight into this rare but potentially fatal disease. If you have questions, email Media@TroyGastro.com.

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