A colonoscopy screening every 10 years could reduce the 1.2 million cases of colorectal cancer diagnosed each year by 40%. This study was conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health and published in the New England Journal of Medicine. In France, more than 17,500 people die from colon cancer.
Colonoscopy is a visual examination of the large intestine performed with a probe. As a rule, this examination is carried out under sedation. In the prevention of colon cancer, colonoscopy helps detect polyps and remove them immediately. This technique reduces the chance of developing colon cancer. Colonoscopy is therefore a diagnostic but also a therapeutic method that allows the removal of polyps and other tumor tissue.
In this Harvard study, the researchers analyzed data from two large studies with nearly 90,000 participants who were asked to fill out a health questionnaire every 2 years and indicate whether or not they had had a colonoscopy.
During this period, there were almost two thousand cases of colorectal cancer and 474 deaths. Both sigmoidoscopy (a faster but less effective test) and colonoscopy, which looks at tumors in the lower colon and rectum, are associated with fewer deaths and fewer cases of colorectal cancer.
signs and symptoms
It may take some time before symptoms that indicate colon cancer appear. Therefore, it is advisable to be very cautious if you notice any of these signs repeatedly. You can feel them like it’s just an ache in your stomach until it gets stronger.
The main symptoms range from constipation or diarrhea to chronic urges to use the toilet, rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, muscle weakness or weight loss and heavy fluid consumption.
A colposcopy every 10 years from the age of 50
Note that only colonoscopy can protect against tumors that develop in the upper part of the colon and rectum. The researchers recommend having a colonoscopy every 10 years after age 50, unless on the advice of a doctor (some people need to have this test before age 50, for example if there is a family history of cancer).
The right steps to prevent colon cancer
Vitamin D intake, weight control, a healthy and balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, and regular exercise are also good ways to prevent colon cancer.
Polyps found during the colonoscopy should be removed if they are not too large or there are not many. In these cases, surgical removal of part of the colon may be necessary (we’re talking about polypectomy).
A microscopic examination of the structure and organization of the polyp is required: excisional biopsy, simple biopsy or surgical sample.
Several methods are used to treat rectal or colon cancer, depending on the patient’s medical condition, personal choice and the stage of the cancer. In local cancers, surgery is systematically resorted to in order to remove the tumors as quickly as possible. Systemic, or general, treatments include options such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or the use of anti-cancer drugs.
Long-term colorectal cancer incidence and mortality after lower endoscopy. New England Medical Journal. Harvard School of Public Health
* Presse Santé strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace the advice of a doctor.
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Colorectal Cancer Colonoscopy Colorectal Cancer Prevention