Highest U.S. Colon Cancer Rates Found in Washington D.C.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) revealed that Washington D.C. has the highest number of colon cancer incidents in the nation.  These findings have paved the way for local efforts to be more vigorous in informing people about colon cancer and the need for regular colonoscopy screenings. Fatalities linked to colon cancer occur at a rate of 21.1 for every 100,000 deaths that take place in the Washington, D.C. area. This is a staggering number which has gotten much concern from the local government and health practitioners.

John Marshall, M.D. believes that this colon cancer prognosis can be traced to two underlying factors. One is that colon cancer is more prevalent among African Americans and the other is that people of age simply do not go in for the recommended colonoscopy screenings.  The colonoscopy screens for abnormalities like polyps and tumors which can then be tested for cancer.  Early detection of pre-cancerous growths in the colon is a vital component of preventing full-blown colon cancer.

Colonoscopy is recommended as a screening tool when a patient reaches 50 years old. It is suggested that African-Americans have the screening at age 45, since they are more susceptible. Families who have had cases of colon cancer in their history should also have screenings at earlier, when members turn 40 years old.

Once colon cancer is detected, doctors need to check what other parts of the body have been affected by the spreading cancer cells. This process is known as staging. Staging allows doctors to peg how advanced the cancer is and what treatments can and should be applied. During the colon cancer staging process the following diagnostic tests are used:

All of the above tests will show the extent of the damage caused by the colon cancer to the other organs.

Colon cancer develops in the following stages:

Advocates of greater consciousness about colon cancer and early detection with colonoscopy emphasize that colorectal cancer can easily be stopped at an early stage. The importance of colonoscopy and other methods of screening should be of the highest concern. Experts said that they hope colon cancer awareness can help reduce mortality rates, just like promoting breast cancer awareness has in previous years. The CDC reported that, in 2010, 72% of people who were recommended for breast cancer screening went through with a procedure while only 54% of people who were recommended for colon cancer screening did. To make an appointment for colon cancer screening, find a gastroenterologist.

Local organizations in Washington,D.C. have organized the Scope It Out 5K marathon on March 25 to increase awareness of colon cancer.