Gastrointestinal

Colorectal Cancer Awareness Saves Lives

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, a rallying point for the colon cancer community to advocate for awareness and early detection. Most colorectal cancers begin as a polyp, a growth in the tissue that lines the inner surface of the colon or rectum. Screening detects pre-cancerous polyps, allowing for removal before turning into cancer. Screening also helps find colon cancer at an early stage when treatment is most effective.

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S. (American Cancer Society)

The good news is: the rates of new colorectal cancer cases and deaths among adults aged 50 years or older are decreasing in this country due to an increase in screening and changes in some risk factors. (for example, a decline in smoking)

The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force considers the following methods to be acceptable screening tests for colon cancer:

  1. High-sensitivity fecal occult blood tests (FOBT)
  2. Stool DNA Test
  3. Sigmoidoscopy
  4. Standard (or optical) colonoscopy

At the Health Nucleus, we feature the non-invasive Multi-Targeted Stool DNA Test. This test detects tiny amounts of blood in stool as well as nine DNA biomarkers in three genes that have been found in colorectal cancer and precancerous adenomas.

People with a first-degree relative (parent, sibling or offspring) who has colon cancer have two to three times the risk of developing the disease. (American Cancer Society)

Whole Genome Sequencing – a key tool at the Health Nucleus – analyzes all of your DNA to give you more complete insights into your health, as well as risks and opportunities for your future. The test analyzes the following genes associated with the risk of developing colorectal cancer that includes Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP) and Lynch syndrome.

APC –  Familial adenomatous polyposis
SMAD4 – Juvenile polyposis/hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia syndrome
BMPR1A – Polyposis, juvenile intestinal
MUTYH – MUTYH-associated polyposis
MLH1 – Lynch syndrome
MSH2 – Lynch syndrome
MSH6 – Lynch syndrome
PMS2 – Lynch syndrome
PTEN – PTEN hamartoma tumor syndrome
STK11 – Peutz-Jeghers syndrome
TP53 – Li-Fraumeni syndrome (not a major gene for colorectal cancer)

In addition, people with a history of inflammatory bowel disease (such as ulcerative colitis or crohn’s disease) have a higher risk of colorectal cancer than people without such conditions.

Read more about how “Relief May Be in Sight for IBD Sufferers

There are currently more than one million colon cancer survivors in the U.S.

Knowing your risk and regular screenings are key factors in avoiding the disease or starting treatment early.

Integrated assessments at the Health Nucleus – including DNA risk analysis and the multi-targeted stool DNA test – are designed to help you identify actionable insights to help guide your care, allowing you to proactively plan for a long, healthy life. Our new membership program gives you the opportunity to measure how certain changes improve your overall health at each annual follow up assessment to stay a step ahead of aging and illness.

Sources

National Cancer Institute “Tests to Detect Colorectal Cancer and Polyps” https://www.cancer.gov/types/colorectal/screening-fact-sheet