Can we talk?
I know it’s not a topic that you want to address, but people are dying not to talk about it.
That topic is your colon, specifically about colon cancer and how to improve diagnosis and cure of the second-leading cause of cancer death in the United States.
Improving survival in this cancer is greatly increased by early detection and polyp removal by colonoscopy.
I know you may have a fear of this procedure.
Trust me; I wasn’t the first to step to the line either.
The preparation the day before is not quite as bad as the rumors, although it is important to stay close to a “facility.”
The procedure itself is painless, quick and easy. After mine, I asked the recovery nurse when we about to start – that was about 30 minutes after the procedure was finished.
Increasing awareness is very important and, as health care leaders, we need to be in front of this issue. Focusing on community education, and cancer prevention and health is a key part of our mission.
So to go along with the many “firsts” we have had at Henry Ford Hospital, the American Cancer Society’s inflatable giant colon made its Detroit debut Monday as part of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March. In its multi-year history, it’s traveled across Michigan and the country.
At 32-feet-long by 14-feet-high, it offers the opportunity to walk through a life-like replica of the human colon. (A quick thought: Was this part of the 1966 movie “Fantastic Voyage?”)
In addition to the giant colon, the event featured an educational “lunch and learn” about colorectal health led by Craig Reickert, M.D., division head of Colon and Rectal Surgery, and included Henry Ford experts from Dr. Reickert’s surgical team, the Josephine Ford Cancer Institute and the Department of Gastroenterology.
With more than 136,000 new cases diagnosed annually, the giant colon is an opportunity to educate the community and encourage regular screenings after age 50; we’d certainly rather prevent colorectal cancer than treat it.
The eye-catching educational tool depicts the good and bad things that can appear in the human colon, such as healthy and non-healthy polyps. In addition to information on polyps, it illustrates various stages of disease, with explanations of normal colon tissue, Crohn’s Disease, colon cancer and advanced colon cancer.
Now we can go back to talking about Red Wings hockey, the Polar Vortex, or any other topic; but here are some final facts about colorectal cancer:
- Colon cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer because if it is found early through screening tests, it can be stopped before it has even begun.
- According to the American Cancer Society, 136,000 people were diagnosed in 2014 and there were more than 50,000 deaths.
- In Michigan, 12 people per day are diagnosed, totaling more than 4,500 Michiganders this year.
- 90 percent of colon cancer occurs in people over age 50.
- Certain individuals, however, may be a candidate for the procedure before age 50: Those with a family history of colon cancer with an immediate family member, or individuals with inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or those with a history of specific genetic disorders.
- The good news is that in the past 15 years, there has been a significant drop in colon cancer and that drop can be attributed to the colonoscopy.
For more information about risk factors, prevention and diagnosis, polyp removal and treatment of colon cancer, visit www.henryford.com/colorectalcancer.
To learn more about what the American Cancer Society is doing for colorectal cancer research, prevention and early intervention, visit www.cancer.org/colon.