Texas Oncology Encourages Texans To Kick Colorectal Cancer with Screenings

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Texas Oncology is inviting Texans to kick colorectal cancer by encouraging friends and loved ones to go for a routine colorectal cancer screening. Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cancer killer of men and women combined in the United States, and the disease is estimated to have claimed 9,570 Texans in 2008.

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Regular colorectal cancer screenings save lives. Your doctor can recommend the best screening for you, but a colonoscopy is the most common

Texas Oncology is inviting Texans to kick colorectal cancer by encouraging friends and loved ones to go for a routine colorectal cancer screening. Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cancer killer of men and women combined in the United States, and the disease is estimated to have claimed 9,570 Texans in 2008.

Colon and rectal cancers occur with equal frequency in both sexes. It is vital that both men and women age 50 and over and those with increased risk factors be screened regularly for this deadly disease. Despite the high likelihood of detection with screening, it is projected that 40 percent of the over-50 population in the United States, more than 39 million people by 2010, will not be screened for colorectal cancer. If all people over age 50 were screened routinely, research shows at least half of colorectal cancer deaths could be prevented.

Colorectal cancer often lacks symptoms in its early stages, and because almost all colorectal cancer cases are diagnosed in patients ages 50 and up, regular screening helps lead to early detection, which increases the five-year survival rate from the disease to 90 percent.

"Regular colorectal cancer screenings save lives. Your doctor can recommend the best screening for you, but a colonoscopy is the most common," said Dr. Michael Kerley, medical and radiation oncologist at Texas Oncology-Paris. "Everyone over age 50 should make routine colorectal cancer screenings a priority to kick colorectal cancer before it strikes or catch it early when it's most treatable."

Risk Factors
Besides age and race, other risk factors for colorectal cancer include:
•Family History: People with a family history of colorectal cancer have a greater risk of being diagnosed with the disease.
•Diet: A lower chance of being diagnosed with colorectal cancer is a good reason to stay in shape. Overweight and obese people have a higher risk of developing the disease.
•Lynch Syndrome: This inherited condition affecting the body's genes increases the likelihood of a colorectal cancer diagnosis. In many cases, the positive diagnosis occurs before age 45. Texas Oncology has genetic testing available at some locations to determine if patients have the gene mutation associated with Lynch Syndrome.
•Other Health Problems: Diabetics and people who have a history of polyps and inflammatory bowel disease also have an increased risk for a positive diagnosis.

Screening Types
Screening tests for rectal and colon cancer are not as difficult as many people perceive them to be. In fact, most patients tolerate the screenings very well. Physicians can recommend several different screening tests for colorectal cancer. Among them, a Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) or Fecal Immunochemical Test checks for blood in the stool. Another option is a sigmoidoscopy. During this procedure, a physician uses a tube with a light connected to a tiny video camera to analyze the rectum and lower part of the colon.

The most common screening test is a colonoscopy, where the rectum and entire colon are examined through a scope to detect growths or polyps that could potentially pose a threat (see sidebar graphic for a description of a colonoscopy).

March is colorectal cancer awareness month. For more information on kicking colorectal cancer, visit TexasOncology.com.

About Texas Oncology
Texas Oncology delivers high-quality cancer care with leading-edge technology and advanced treatment and therapy options available to help patients achieve "More breakthroughs. More victories." in their fights against cancer, right in their own communities. Texas Oncology, a pioneer in community-based cancer care, is an independent oncology practice with sites of service throughout Texas and southeastern New Mexico.

Texas Oncology patients have the opportunity to take part in some of the most promising clinical trials in the nation for a broad range of cancers. In fact, Texas Oncology has played an integral role in gaining Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for 24 of the latest 30 cancer therapies.

Texas Onocology is affiliated with US Oncology, the nation's foremost cancer treatment and research network accelerating the availability and use of evidence-based medicine and shared best practices. With more than 1,250 physicians at 480 locations in 39 states, the US Oncology network provides Texas Oncology with access to the latest advancements in therapies, clinical research, and technology, as well as best-in-class clinical and operational processes that help to advance the quality, safety, and cost effectiveness of cancer care.

For more information, visit http://www.texasoncology.com or call 1-888-864-I CAN (4226).

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Alison Zvolanek

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