Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month continues to carry a screening emphasis in Kentucky

Republished from WEKU.

Kentucky leads the nation in the incidence rate of colorectal cancer and is fourth in the mortality rate for this disease. Major gains though have been made in screening for this cancer, from 49th to now 15th nationally. Dr. Arvinash Bhakta is a colorectal surgeon at the UK Markey Cancer Center. When it comes to diet, Dr. Bhakta said eating heavy red-meat, smoked, and fried foods often can cause problems.

“We know that in moderation they are ok. I think when we get in trouble is when they become the sole primary diet that we intake,” said Bhakta

Issues that need medical attention are bleeding or abdominal pain that last longer than a few days.

Bhakta said colonoscopies starting at age 45 for every ten years when there are no polyps are vital. The colorectal surgeon said work continues on developing an easier and more tolerable colonoscopy prep. March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

Research is ongoing regarding causes and prevention of colorectal cancer. For now, the gold standard for detecting and in-time treatment of the disease is screening through a colonoscopy. Bhakta said the longer-term aim is to find additional preventive medicines.

“Right now we’re reactive to the colon cancers, but we want to be proactive, we really want to figure out what it is that is causing our population to get these colon cancers and help prevent even before a colonoscopy needs to be done,” said Bhakta.

Dr. Bhakta noted the risk of malignancy goes up after eight to ten years in people with unmanaged Chron’s disease. He added it’s important to control this condition through medication.

The colorectal surgeon admits speaking about bowel health can be an uncomfortable topic. But Bhakta said patients need to know that they are not alone and it’s a condition shared by countless others.

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Originally published by WEKU.

Republished with permission.