If you’re 50 years or older or have a family history of colorectal cancer,
you could be at higher risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Colorectal cancer, which includes cancers of the colon and the rectum, usually begins
as small, benign clumps of cells called polyps. It is the third most commonly diagnosed
cancer in the U.S. and the second leading cause of cancer deaths.
An estimated 147,000 new cases of colorectal cancer were diagnosed in the U.S. last
year, killing 50,000 people, according to the American Cancer Society. In Hawai‘i,
about 710 people were diagnosed with the disease, killing 210 people.
The risk of getting colorectal cancer increases with age and occurs in both men
“The most important thing to remember is that colorectal cancer is preventable,
treatable and beatable when found early,” says Milton Hirata, communications
director of the American Cancer Society Hawaii Pacific, Inc.
A colonoscopy allows doctors to examine the colon and rectum internally, using a
thin, flexible tube called a colonoscope. During the procedure, polyps may be removed
and tissue may be obtained for biopsy. Routine colonoscopy should begin at age 50
or earlier if there is a family history of colorectal cancer.
Other preventive measures for colorectal cancer and other cancers include eating
a healthy diet and getting regular physical activity.
March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. The American Cancer Society, Kapi‘olani
Community College Culinary Arts Program, and Queen’s, Kapiolani and Castle
Medical Centers have joined to spread awareness of colorectal cancer by sponsoring
cooking demonstrations of vegetarian dishes at the medical centers. Visit
www.cancer.org for more information.