This week, the Colon Cancer Coalition hosted a Twitter chat on an important topic—colorectal cancer.
What Is Endoscopy?
For those not immersed in the world of gastroenterology (GI), endoscopy refers to nonsurgical procedures that allow a physician to examine the digestive tract. In these procedures, a flexible tube with a small light and camera attached (an endoscope) is inserted into the mouth or the rectum. Physicians can then inspect, take pictures, and perform therapies like removing polyps and taking biopsies. The two most common endoscopic procedures are 1) upper endoscopy, which looks at the first part of the small intestine and 2) colonoscopy, which examines the lower intestine (colon).
During March, aka Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, you have probably learned a lot about colorectal cancer (CRC) including screening options for the disease, proposed legislation to remove barriers to CRC screening, and positive trends, for instance: for people age 50 and over, the rate of CRC is declining. That’s all good. Unfortunately, the news for younger folks is not as rosy.
In case you have not heard, March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Despite some bleak facts (e.g., CRC is the number two cause of cancer deaths in the US, the prevalence is rapidly increasing among adults under age 50, etc.), there is much to be thankful for. For instance:
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second leading cause of death from cancers that affect both men and women, but if everyone 50 and older got regular screenings, six out of ten CRC-related deaths could be prevented.
March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, the goal of which is to increase awareness about the disease and raise funds for research. This month--and throughout the year---you can take action to educate friends and family about CRC and how to get screened; reduce your own odds of getting CRC; raise research dollars; or volunteer. Here's how to get started.
According to the American College of Gastroenterologists (ACG), adenoma detection rate (ADR) is “the measurement that best reflects how carefully colonoscopy is performed.“ Defined as the percentage of patients age 50 and older undergoing screening colonoscopy who have one or more precancerous polyps detected, ADR is calculated by dividing the number of procedures in which one or more adenomas is detected by the total number of procedures. An endoscopist’s ADR should be at least 25% for men and 15% for women.
The human gut microbiome comprises all of the bacteria in in the human intestine, which amounts to over 100 billion bacteria. This outnumbers the cells in our bodies 10 to 1. Although probiotic products touting gut health are currently flooding the marketplace (ranging from dietary supplements to cake mixes), there is no consensus on what a healthy human microbiome looks like, and none of these products have been approved by the FDA to treat or prevent specific diseases. While most agree that it is essential to human health, facts about the microbiome and how it functions in the body are still under investigation.
There is no doubt that the partial government shutdown, the longest in US history, is having a detrimental effect on the 800,000 Federal government employees and their families. In response to the crisis, some furloughed workers have gone to extreme measures; thousands have created GoFundMe pages to help pay for necessities like food, childcare, and medicine.
Put yourself in their shoes. Now imagine that you have cancer.