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Mount Sinai Health System Experts Share Tips for Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month this March Newswise — NEW YORK (February 23, 2016) – Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women in the United States. Although highly treatable and preventable, about 140,000 Americans are still diagnosed and more than 50,000 people die each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
More than 90% of colorectal cancer cases occur in people 50 years old or older, but incidence rates have been declining in this age group due to improvements in screening. However, colorectal cancer is on the rise among adults under 50, highlighting the need for increased awareness.
Mount Sinai experts are available during March’s Colorectal Cancer Awareness month to discuss prevention, screening options, and risk factors.
*Patients are also available for interview*
Experts available for interview• David Greenwald, MD, Director of Clinical Gastroenterology and Endoscopy at The Mount Sinai Hospital• Steven Itzkowitz, MD, Professor of Medicine in Gastroenterology and Oncological Science, and Director of the Gastroenterology Fellowship Program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai• Jerome D. Waye, MD, Director of Endoscopic Education at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Director of the Center for Advanced Colonoscopy and Polypectomy at The Mount Sinai Hospital• Laura Manning, MPH, RD, CDN, Clinical Nutrition Coordinator in the Department of Gastroenterology at The Mount Sinai Hospital
Colorectal Cancer Prevention • Why – Colonoscopy can prevent colorectal cancer. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, more than 75-90% of colorectal cancer cases can be avoided through early detection and removal of pre-cancerous polyps.
• When – Screening should begin at age 50 for both men and women at average risk. Colonoscopy is recommended as a screening test every 10 years, while those with additional risk factors may be advised to start screening earlier and more frequently.
• How – Colonoscopy is the preferred screening method since it allows for both detection and removal of polyps during the same procedure. It is an outpatient procedure that involves placing a thin tube with a light and camera into the colon for a complete view. Other screening options include fecal occult blood test (FOBT), fecal immunochemical test (FIT), flexible sigmoidoscopy, CT colonography, barium enema with air contrast and stool DNA testing. Individuals should discuss these options with their doctor.
Colorectal Cancer Risk Factors • Age – More than 90% of colorectal cancer cases occur in people 50 years old or older, however incidence is increasing in adults younger than age 50.
• Gender – Women and men have roughly the same lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer.
• Family history – As many as 1 in 5 people who develop colorectal cancer have other family members who have been affected by this disease. The risk is even higher if a relative was diagnosed under age 45, or if more than one first-degree relative has been affected.
• Racial and ethnic background – Colorectal cancer affects people of all races and ethnicities.
• Lifestyle factors – Common lifestyle factors that may increase colorectal cancer risk include: obesity; cigarette smoking; lack of exercise; overconsumption of fat, red and processed meats; not eating enough fiber, fruits and vegetables; and drinking alcohol excessively.
• Pre-existing health conditions – Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, and less common genetic syndromes such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or Lynch syndrome, significantly increase the risk of developing colon cancer. These patients are recommended to be screened younger and more frequently.
Colorectal Cancer Symptoms While screening is the optimal prevention tool before symptoms occur, it is important to see your doctor right away if you experience:• A change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation or narrowing of the stool, lasting for more than a few days• Rectal bleeding, dark stools or blood in the stool • Cramping or abdominal pain• Weakness and fatigue• Unintended weight loss
About the Mount Sinai Health SystemThe Mount Sinai Health System is an integrated health system committed to providing distinguished care, conducting transformative research, and advancing biomedical education. Structured around seven hospital campuses and a single medical school, the Health System has an extensive ambulatory network and a range of inpatient and outpatient services—from community-based facilities to tertiary and quaternary care.
The System includes approximately 6,100 primary and specialty care physicians; 12 joint-venture ambulatory surgery centers; more than 140 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and 31 affiliated community health centers. Physicians are affiliated with the renowned Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, which is ranked among the highest in the nation in National Institutes of Health funding per investigator. The Mount Sinai Hospital is ranked as one of the nation’s top 10 hospitals in Geriatrics, Cardiology/Heart Surgery, and Gastroenterology, and is in the top 25 in five other specialties in the 2015-2016 “Best Hospitals” issue of U.S. News & World Report. Mount Sinai’s Kravis Children’s Hospital also is ranked in seven out of ten pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report. The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked 11th nationally for Ophthalmology, while Mount Sinai Beth Israel is ranked regionally.