Colon Cancer in Women

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					Colon Cancer in Women
March 2006
Irene Krechetoff

Colon Cancer in Women: Presentation Overview
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What is colon cancer? How prevalent is colon cancer (statistics)? How are women affected by colon cancer? How is colon cancer identified? diagnosed?
• CC Screening: Colonoscopy, Polyps

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How is colorectal cancer treated? What is the outlook for colorectal cancer? Important Issues for Women ... Resources for Further Information …

What is Colon Cancer (CC)?
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Colon cancer, or colo-rectal cancer, is a cancer of the digestive tract, originating in the colon or rectum. Over 95% of colon and rectal cancers are adenocarcinomas, which are cancers of the cells that line the inside of the colon and rectum (American Cancer Society).

What is Colon Cancer (CC)?
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Cancer is uncontrolled growth, which is manifested in CC as polyps. Polyps must be removed for biopsy to rule out, or diagnose, cancer. Non-cancerous polyps may cause bleeding or obstruction.
• • • • Inflammatory polyps, due to colitis - BENIGN Juvenile polyps, may bleed - BENIGN Hyperplastic polyps, may bgleed - BENIGN Adenomatous Polyps, “adenomas” - CANCER

What is Colon Cancer?

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http://www1.wfubmc. edu/cancer/Types+of+ Cancer/Colon+Cancer/

What is Colon Cancer?
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Photo from the “Colossal Colon Tour (2003)”

How Prevalent is Colon Cancer?
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Third most diagnosed cancer in men and women of the US and Canada, aside from skin cancer (CCA)
• after lung and breast cancers in women • after lung and prostate cancers in men
“ Every 4 minutes, a person in the U.S. is diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer. Every 9 minutes, someone dies of the disease. Colorectal cancer is highly preventable and treatable. Yet it is the nation’s second leading cancer killer “ .....CCA

How are women affected by CC?
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CC affects men and women equally, but the perception of it being a “man’s disease” and its lack of symptoms makes it so dangerous Age is a major factor and screening is imperative • A colonoscopy is suggested at age 50, then in 10 years • A family history translates into immediate screening • Fecal occult blood tests and sigmoidoscopy also screen Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer in US women of Hispanic, American Indian/Alaska Native, or Asian/Pacific Islander ancestry, and the third most common cancer in white and African American women.

How is CC identified/diagnosed?
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Lack of symptoms makes CC so dangerous Screening helps find CC early, which can yield a 5-year relative survival rate of 90 percent [if found and treated]. Due to low screening rates, most CC are found too late. The intestinal lining or polyp (growth) is biopsied and found to be cancerous.

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CC Screening: Colonoscopy
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Screening and diagnosis based on the visual examination of the colon (via a flexible, lighted tube with camera). A biopsy of intestine or polyp may be done. Patient lies on left side, sedated (some are awake, most sleep) Virtual colonoscopies use xrays and computer technology (CT or MRI). A traditional colonoscopy may be done right away if xrays present questions
http://www.iammattthomas.com/comm on/colonoscopy.jpg

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Polyps and CC Diagnosis
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A polyp is defined as an “extra piece of tissue” growing in the body. Intestinal polyps seem to look like mushrooms. Most are benign, but large polyps are, or can become, cancerous
http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases /pubs/colonpolyps_ez/index.htm#3

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How is CC Treated?
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PREVENTION is the treatment of choice
• Colorectal cancer is often called a "silent" disease since symptoms don't always develop until it is difficult to cure. The good news is that you can help prevent colorectal cancer, and it is mostly curable when it is found early through regular screening tests.

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Surgery (Colostomy, Resection), Chemotherapy (Drug) Therapy, Radiation

What is the Outlook for CC?
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Prevention (lifestyle, nutrition, genetics) Screening
• CDC conducts research to improve our understanding of the factors that influence colorectal cancer screening, including screening test rates, complications, cost and patient and healthcare provider preferences. Results from these research studies are used to plan and improve national colorectal cancer prevention and control activities. CDC also supports community-based research efforts regarding colorectal cancer screening.

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Drug Therapies Nutritional Guidelines (Folate is under review) Genetics (studies, risk factor identification)

Important Issues for Women:
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Screening, and continued screening
• Preparing for a colonoscopy is important and requires an empty colon. Constipation-sufferers (usually women) must be careful. • Screening implies health maintenance and coverage, which excludes the poor (especially the working-poor) -- often women

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Stop misperception of CC as man’s disease Listen to your body - it’s not “just nerves”
• CC may not be detected in pregnant women because symptoms, such as rectal bleeding, nausea, and vomiting, resemble the symptoms of pregnancy [while not reported, such symptoms may also be overlooked by women suffering from PMS or IBS]

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Vary your diet - While the Women’s Health Initiative did not
conclusively link nutrition to increased cancer risks, many studies have correlated the traditional “Western” diet of processed and red meats, high fat, low fiber to increased CC risk (Archives of Internal Medicine (Vol. 163: 309-314)(Feb. 2003) (www.cancer.org).

For Further Information:
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Colon Cancer Alliance • www.ccalliance.org
• winner, OncoLink editor’schoice

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OncoLink

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• www.oncolink.org
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American Cancer Society • www.cancer.org National Cancer Institute
• 800-4-CANCER (800-4226237) or www.nci.nih.gov

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Colossal Colon • http://www.colonclub.com/ colossalcolon.html Medline Images/Articles • www.nlm.nih.gov National Women's Health Information Center
• 1-800-994-9662

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Sources / Bibliography:
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CCA, Colon Cancer Alliance • http://www.ccalliance.org/what/about/about.html ACS, American Cancer Society • http://www.cancer.org/docroot/NWS/content/NWS_1_1x_Study_Finds_N o_Colon_Cancer_Protection_for_Women_from_Calcium_Vitamin_D.asp • http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/content/CRI_2_4_2X_What_are_the_ risk_factors_for_colon_and_rectum_cancer.asp?sitearea=

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Colossal Colon Tour
• www.preventcancer.org CDC, Center for Disease Control • http://www.cdc.gov/colorectalcancer.htm www.emedicinehealth.com/articles/13703-1.asp www.umm.edu/altmed/ConsConditions/CancerColorectalcc.html#Pregnancy http://jaxmed.com/ask_a_doc/answers/answer32500.htm

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