Don’t fall victim to second-most-deadly cancer

Feature Article- Fri., Mar. 18, 2011
- Contributed Photo

Colonoscopy. That simple word can make the bravest people cringe. Yet it’s a routine procedure that could help save the lives of the 150,000 men and women diagnosed with colon cancer in the U.S. each year.

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Men and women are recommended to begin screening at age 50, or even earlier if there is a family history of colon cancer. Despite these guidelines, alarming results from a new survey of 1,000 Americans sponsored by the Colon Cancer Alliance (CCA) and the makers of Dulcolax (R) products found that more than a quarter of respondents 50 years and older (27 percent) have not been screened, and the reason most often cited is that they do not have a family history of colon cancer. Moreover, of those aged 50 and older who have yet to be screened, 60 percent would be more concerned about the preparation than the actual procedure.

The good news is, if diagnosed early, colon cancer is 90 percent curable. So it’s important that all men and women over the age of 50 talk to their doctors about getting screened.

If you have avoided screening in the past, you’re not alone. Renowned American fashion designer and colon cancer survivor Carmen Marc Valvo can relate.

Valvo was fortunate enough to receive an early diagnosis after being screened for the disease. “I certainly understand why people are hesitant to be examined, but the fact is, it’s not nearly as uncomfortable as you might imagine, and nothing to be embarrassed about,” says Valvo. “Any discomfort experienced during the screening is surely outweighed by the benefits of preventing cancer from developing or catching it in its early stages.”

While nine in 10 new cases of colon cancer occur in those who are 50 and older, family history also plays a role. After he was diagnosed, Valvo found out that two of his relatives had also been diagnosed with colon cancer.

“With regular screenings, prevention and early detection is possible,” adds Michael Kreines, MD, FACG, FAGA, FACP, Ohio Gastroenterology and Liver Institute, member of the Colon Cancer Alliance Medical Scientific Advisory Board. “A colonoscopy is now considered a routine test that has saved countless lives over the years.”

Valvo has teamed up with the Colon Cancer Alliance and the makers of Dulcolax (R) products to help raise awareness about the disease and the need for screening. He is also donating all proceeds from his latest book, “Dressed to Perfection: The Art of Dressing for Your Red Carpet Moments,” to support colon cancer research and organizations like the Colon Cancer Alliance. A portion of proceeds from the purchase of Dulcolax (R) products supports free colon cancer screenings for those in need.

In addition to regular screenings and researching your family medical history, here are a few things that you can do to promote good colon health, courtesy of the Colon Cancer Alliance and the makers of Dulcolax (R) products:

• Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.

• Exercise for a half hour at least three times a week.

• Make sure you eat plenty of fiber. This should include two to four servings of vegetables per day. Other foods high in fiber include high-bran cereals, grainy breads such as whole wheat, pumpernickel and rye, fresh or dried fruits – especially prunes or apricots – and high-fiber beans, such as chickpeas and lima beans.

It’s also important to note that colon cancer affects men and women equally. For more information about colon cancer and the screening process, visit


Courtesy of ARA Content.

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