It has long been known that rising prosperity within any nation seems to spark a concomitant rise in the so-called diseases of civilization: heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.
Researchers recently identified one particular form of cancer as the canary in the coalmine: colorectal cancer. Data shows that as wealth increases, lifestyle changes such as increased drinking, inactivity and poor diet tends to send the rate of colon or bowel cancer through the roof:
“Colorectal cancer is the clearest marker of societal and economic transition,” says Cancer epidemiologist Melina Arnold, from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, who led the study.
Also known as bowel cancer, it’s the third most common type of cancer in the world. It affected 1.4 million people in 2012 and is predicted to increase by 60%, to more than 2.2 million cases — and 1.1 million deaths — by 2030.
Stories such as these are a cautionary tale for those of us in the West for whom a sedentary lifestyle is already the norm. Thankfully the converse is true: When people engage in more active lifestyles and watch what they eat, they tend to exhibit lower rates of bowel or colorectal cancer and related diseases.
The silver lining is that a Colonoscopy may just save your life. A Colonoscopy is a safe and effective tool in diagnosing and treating colon and rectal polyps that may lead to colon and rectal cancer. During a Colonoscopy, a long fiber optic tube with a camera at the end will be maneuvered up through the rectum and colon, typically to the cecum or the terminal ileum of the small intestine. The colonoscope has ports, allowing various instruments to be fed through it to remove or resect colon and rectal polyps. Because a Colonoscopy will allow the detection of polyps as well as the resection of the polyps in real time, it is the Gold Standard versus the Virtual Colonoscopy (CT Colonography) which detects colon polyps on a CT Scan but does not allow for the surgeon to remove them in real time.
If you are concerned about bowel cancer or colorectal cancer, especially if you have a family history of Colon and Rectal Cancer, early screening with a Colonoscopy is a must:
The key therefore is early detection and increasing opportunities for screening in all affected countries and not just the affluent ones as, according to Cross, 90% of people will survive five years if diagnosed early.
To learn more, please call us at the LA and Orange County Proctology Institute today.