Colon cancer on the rise in younger adults
A Colorectal and General Surgeon from HCA Florida North Florida Hospital explained the different ways to prevent, treat, and cure the disease.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - According to the American Cancer Society, colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer related deaths, and it’s on the rise. Dr. George Filosa is a Colorectal and General Surgeon at HCA Florida North Florida Hospital.
“It’s about 100,000 cases of colon cancer a year,” said Dr.Filosa.
According to the American Cancer Society, colon cancer is on the rise in people younger than 45. Even though Dr.Filosa mentioned having an unhealthy lifestyle like smoking, obesity, and eating too much red meat can lead to colon cancer, he said what’s causing the rise in younger adults is a medical mystery.
“But we do know that it’s more aggressive when it’s happening in younger patients,” mentioned Dr.Filosa. “The fortunate news is that overall the incidents and mortality is decreasing in patients that are older and in general.”
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Even though Dr.Filosa said age is the number one risk of colon cancer, he offers good news. Colon cancer is treatable, curable, and preventable. The biggest concern of colon cancer is it can show no symptoms. That’s why it’s important to be open with your doctor about any changes with your body.
Dr.Filosa explained, “When patients present with bleeding, obstruction, different changes in their bowel patients, abdominal pain, those types of symptoms are worrying and should prompt a visit with your doctor.”
Dr.Filosa also stressed the importance of colonoscopies. A colonoscopy will screen for adenomas, a tumor in the bowel that can be cancerous, and possibly spread and become deadly if left untreated. He mentioned 45 is the age you start getting screened, which is recommended by the American Cancer Society.
“It’s by far the most common way that we screen for these cancers,” exclaimed Dr.Filosa. “It’s an excellent screen modality.” He added, “the colonoscopy not only allows you to find them, but to treat it right then and there before it becomes a cancer.”
If diagnosed with colon cancer, Dr.Filosa explained treatment involves removing the cancer and rebuilding a portion of the organ. Some patients need a colostomy bag, but that’s not always the case.
“Colostomy bag can be temporary or permanent,” exclaimed Dr.Filosa. “Most of the time its temporary. And usually, we want to make sure the new connection heals very well.”
Dr.Filosa also mentioned having a strong support system and good doctors, can help patients from being overwhelmed.
“A lot of it is like drinking water though a fire hose,” explained Dr.Filosa. “It’s going to need to be repeated, and you want someone compassionate, someone that’s there for you holding your hand, and repeating that information as needed.”
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