May the FORCE Be With You!

Lung cancer is the #1 cancer killer of women in the United States.

Contrary to popular belief, smoking is not the only cause of lung cancer. In fact, more than half of lung cancer patients do not smoke. Exposure to environmental agents like radon and other chemicals can also result in a lung cancer diagnosis.

Although lung cancer cases appear to be decreasing in men, there has been a noticeable increase of lung cancer cases in women. Research shows the survival rates for lung cancer in either gender is very low. This is because many lung cancer cases are not detected until the cancer has progressed to an advanced stage.

Simply put, early detection is the best detection.

Finding lung cancer and many other cancers early on increases the likelihood of survival. Therefore, it is important to adhere to the recommended clinical guidelines. Just like many other parts of the body, there are ways to screen for lung cancer. A CT scan is a great, non-invasive way to detect lung cancer. However, the best advice we can provide is to consult your physician regarding which screening tool is best for you.

In honor of the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE campaign, we ask that you take the pledge for women’s lung health! Through this movement, the ALA aims to eradicate lung cancer by uniting women in this great fight.

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  • 1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. CDC WONDER On-line Database, compiled from Compressed Mortality File 1999-2010 Series 20 No. 2P, 2013.
  • 2Ibid.
  • 3American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures, 2012.
  • 4U.S. National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute: SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1973-2010.
  • 5Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Health Statistics. National Health Interview Survey Raw Data, 2011. Analysis performed by the American Lung Association Epidemiology and Statistics Unit using SPSS software.
  • 6Alberg, AJ and Samet, J. Epidemiology of Lung Cancer Chest, January 2003; 123:21S–49S.
  • 7Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, Garshell J, Neyman N, Altekruse SF, Kosary CL, Yu M, Ruhl J, Tatalovich Z, Cho H, Mariotto A, Lewis DR, Chen HS, Feuer EJ, Cronin KA (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2010, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, based on November 2012 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, April 2013.
  • 8U.S. National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute: SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1973-2010.
  • 9Ibid
  • 10U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for Lung Cancer: Recommendation. AHRQ Publication No. 13-05196-EF-3.

 

 

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You’re going to put that WHERE???!

One word…COLONOSCOPY.

Are you turning 50 soon? It is time to start planning for that colonoscopy!

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Therefore, we’re going to give you some valuable information that can potentially save your life. Remember, early detection is the best detection!

Colorectal cancer is cancer of the colon or rectum. It ranks #2 on the list of cancer deaths each year in the US. However, there are many tests that can catch early signs of colorectal cancer. Screening options include a colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, and high-sensitivity FOBT. The first two screenings are typically done in an outpatient facility. This means patients will go home the same day. However, physicians and gastrointestinal specialists can typically perform the high-sensitivity FOBT screenings during an office visit.

Let’s talk about the different screening tools!

Most people have heard about how a colonoscopy works. However, it is helpful to know exactly what the test is looking for. Your gastrointestinal specialist will use a thin, flexible tube to look for any abnormalities like polyps or cancer in the entire colon. The camera and light attached to the tube will help your specialist see during this test. If your specialist sees anything abnormal, he or she typically will remove it and send it to pathology for further screening. This test should be done every ten (10) years.

A flexible sigmoidoscopy is very similar to a colonoscopy. However, your gastrointestinal specialist will use a similar but shorter tube. This test looks for the same abnormalities but in a different place.  A flexible sigmoidoscopy focuses only on the rectum and the lower third of the colon. This test should be done every five (5) years.

A high-density FOBT test is a fancy name for a stool test. This screening tells your physician whether your stool contains blood or anti-bodies. The presence of these things may indicate abnormalities in the colon. This test should be done once a year.

Need to get your screenings but don’t have the funds? There are programs in place to assist! The CDC’s Colorectal Cancer Control Program provides assistance to people who cannot afford to get these tests done. The only qualifications are that you’re between the ages of 50 and 64, uninsured or underinsured, and have no other way of paying for the test (s).

Note: People with a family history of cancer may have different recommendations than the average person. Always consult your physician for the best screening recommendations.

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Source: http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/dcpc/resources/features/ColorectalAwareness/