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Why do you need colorectal cancer screening

Updated on July 29, 2008

colorectal cancer screening can save lives

There are many reasons for not having screening of colon and rectal cancer. There are more important things to do, and things to quickly get out of the way. There are morning meetings to make, after-work meetings that grill us and the in-laws are visiting from the United Kingdom in the weekend. There are happier things to do: night out with the boys, going to the gym, running into the sunset, this much talked-about movie, Robbie Williams' World Tour, coaching your son's basketball, the list goes on. There is only one reason for screening of colon and rectal cancer: to enable you to do all these things above much longer. We are "lucky" that Colon and rectal cancer takes time to develop. On the average, it takes over five to to years for someone to go from having a normal colonoscopy, to having small polyps on colonoscopy and finally to having colon or rectal cancer. It reminds me of the psychopathic killer who doesn't kill right away. He is keen to play "Catch me if you can" and leaves traces all around.

If a disease is associated with a low incidence or insignificant impact on health, we will not bother to prevent or control it. Colon cancer does not fall into this category. The age-adjusted incidence rate was 51.6 per 100,000 men and women per year. It is estimated that 153,760 men and women (79,130 men and 74,630 women) will be diagnosed with and 52,180 men and women will die of cancer of the colon and rectum in 2007. The problem is certainly big and bad enough for us to do something about.

"What is screening?"

Screening is looking for cancer before a person has any symptoms. This can help find cancer at an early stage. When abnormal tissue or cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat. By the time symptoms appear, cancer may have begun to spread. Scientists are trying to better understand which people are more likely to get certain types of cancer. They also study the things we do and the things around us to see if they cause cancer. This information helps doctors recommend who should be screened for cancer, which screening tests should be used, and how often the tests should be done.It is important to remember that your doctor does not necessarily think you have cancer if he or she suggests a screening test. Screening tests are given when you have no cancer symptoms. Screening tests may be repeated on a regular basis.If a screening test result is abnormal, you may need to have more tests done to find out if you have cancer. These are called diagnostic tests." ( information from National Cancer Institute of USA)

Screening only makes good sense if it makes the outcome different. In colon and rectal cancer, the difference is remarkable. Carcinoma-in-situ (very early Cancers) are 99.9% cured. Early Cancers (stage one) are 90% cured. The cure rate falls as one progresses up the stage. Very advanced cancers (stage four) are cured less than 5% of the time, even though significantly prolonged survival can be achieved. Screening will increase the percentage of early stages in the diagnosed cancer cases and lead to significantly improved overall survival. That translates into more important things get done, more fun things get done, more sharing of lives, by us.

Dr Benson Yeung's related hubs:

I'm afraid that your cancer has spread

The Newest Screening Test For Large Bowel Cancer

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