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Julie Wilkinson, BSN, RN

It Took Hard Work, Not Luck

By January 15, 2013

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ADAM image of polyp in colon

Image A.D.A.M

According to the latest report from the National Cancer Institute, the incidence of colon cancer in adults -- both men and women -- has decreased over the past decade. Give yourself a pat on the back, because dropping these statistics took hard work and attention to preventive medicine -- luck didn't play a hand.

The colon cancer screening tests, such as the colonoscopy (both virtual and endoscopic), can only detect cancer if you have them done. It's human nature to procrastinate, especially when we think something is going to be painful or possibly impart bad news. However, the colonoscopy is designed to catch growths, such as adenomatous polyps, in your colon before they turn cancerous.

Ignored over time, these polyps can mutate into cancerous growths and possibly even metastasize (spread) and leave your colon to attack other parts of your body such as your lungs or bones.

So the take away lesson is two-fold: Make an appointment to get screened for colon cancer, (especially if you are an adult over the age of 50 and have not already done so), and take the necessary steps to decrease your risk of growing polyps. Diet, excercise, and even cigarette smoking can increase your susceptibility to growing polyps.

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