MAN Magazine Summer 2019

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HEALTHY LIVING

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quickly, and the results help to assess

if your prostate is a normal size for

your age with a smooth surface,

or if there are signs of an enlarged

prostrate (larger than expected for

your age), or signs of prostate cancer,

(hard and lumpy). These tests alone

are not completely accurate, and

the doctor may refer you for further

check-ups, based on general health,

and risk level, and more tests may

take place, including scans, biopsy,

ultrasound of the bladder, and

further PSA testing.

Sources include:

https://prostatecanceruk.org/

prostate-information/prostatetests/introduction-to-prostatetests

https://www.cancer.org/cancer/

prostate-cancer/early-detection/

finding-prostate-cancer-early.

html

What is Colorectal Cancer

Screening?

Colorectal cancer often begins as

a growth called a polyp, which

may form on the inner wall of the

colon or rectum. Some polyps

become cancer over time. Finding

and removing polyps can prevent

colorectal cancer.’ National

Cancer Institute.

SCREENING IS

LOOKING AT

CANCER BEFORE

A PERSON HAS

ANY SYMPTOMS

The colon is approximately five

feet long, and the first part of the

large intestine; an integral part of

the digestive system that leads to

the rectum and anus. Colorectal

cancer refers to cancer in both the

colon and rectum. This is more

common in men than women,

and has increased in men under

fifty-years-old since 1998. ‘Overall,

the lifetime risk of developing

colorectal cancer is: about 1 in 21

(4.7%) for men and 1 in 23 (4.4%)

for women.’ American Cancer

Society.

Screening is looking at cancer

before a person has any symptoms.

Research takes place to assess

which types of people are more

at risk of certain cancers, so these

groups can get screened. In the

UK, this screening is called Bowel

Cancer Screening, the initial testing

is to indicate if there is hidden

blood in the stools.

‘The good news is that bowel

cancer can be successfully treated

in over 90% of cases, if diagnosed

early. The early symptoms of

bowel cancer are very similar to

other, much less serious problems

with the bowel. Be aware of what

is normal for you, so that you

recognise any unusual changes.’

(Beating Bowel Cancer)

Where do I go? Initially discuss

this with your doctor. The FOBT/

stool tests can be done via post

and so in the privacy of your own

home, using a card home kit

smearing several samples over a

period of time: your doctor will

explain exactly what you have

to do. You can contact any of

the supporting foundations for

this type of cancer for further

information too. Different countries

offer different tests. The UK bowel

screening helpline is 0800 707

60 60.

What does it entail? Five types

of tests are used to screen for

colorectal cancer, and it is important

to check with your doctor any

special preparation you may need to

do prior to the test/s you are having,

including a cleansing process to

ensure the colon and rectum are

clear for inspection.

Faecal occult blood test

(FOBT) (checks for hidden blood

in three consecutive stool samples,

which can be a sign of polyps,

cancer or other conditions), the

sigmoidoscopy takes ten to

twenty minutes (a thin instrument

with a light and viewing lens is

inserted into the rectum into the

sigmoid colon to view or sometimes

remove tissue samples or polyps

to check), the colonoscopy takes

about thirty minutes, and is usually

the option for those at high risk (a

colonoscope is inserted through the

rectum into the colon to look for

polyps), the virtual colonoscopy/

computed tomography

colonography is not invasive (a

series of x-rays), but still involves

the same preparation. There are

a number of other tests that can

also be taken including DNA

blood tests, and Double-Contrast

Barium Enema (DCBE). The pros

and cons of each test can be read

on: https://www.cancer.org/

cancer/colon-rectal-cancer/

detection-diagnosis-staging/

screening-tests-used.html

After a screening, if your results

return ‘abnormal’ based on factors

such as your age, then you may

be referred to have further tests;

during a colonoscopy polyps can

be removed. Remember that some

polyps are not cancerous and

removal reduces the risk of them

developing into cancer.

Sources include:

https://www.cancer.gov/types/

colorectal

https://www.cancer.org/cancer/

colon-rectal-cancer/about/keystatistics.html

https://www.bowelcanceruk.

org.uk/about-bowel-cancer/

screening/

https://www.

beatingbowelcancer.org/how-wecan-help/our-nurses/

None of us want to consider the

possibility of having to have treatment

for an illness or condition, but the reality

is that with regular health examinations

and tests, we find out potential problems

before they start or worsen... and in

these cases chances of treatments being

successful are higher.

MAN MAGAZINE SUMMER 2019

115

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