We can all agree that a colonoscopy is anything but enjoyable. But getting screened for colon cancer can save your life! Screening can find the cancer while it's still easy to treat.
According to a new study conducted by researchers from the University of Missouri in the USA, most adults with disabilities don't get routine screenings for colon cancer.
This is concerning as colon cancer is the fourth most common cancer is the United States and the second leading cause of cancer deaths. The question is - why don't disabled adults get screened for colon cancer as often as they should?
Researchers find that disabled adults don’t go for colonoscopies due to lack of transport and education
To reach their findings, the researchers reviewed two state health plain claims: South Carolina Medicaid (a social healthcare programme for those with limited resources) and Medicare (a national social insurance programme funded by payroll tax). They also looked at hospital discharge data from 2000 to 2009.
The researchers found that 48% of the general population reported having routine colon cancer
screenings. However, only 34% of people with disabilities reported routine screenings – 46% with blindness or limited sight and 44% with spinal cord injuries.
“These individuals may not be routinely screened for colon cancer
due to a lack of education and awareness, transportation challenges or other barriers,” reported study author Chelsea Deroche, an assistant professor in the Department of Health Management and Informatics, in a university news release.
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“These findings support the need for increased awareness and targeted advocacy outreach efforts to both physicians and caregivers to ensure all individuals are screened appropriately,” Deroche added.
Deroche concluded that a whopping 60% of colon cancers deaths in the US could be prevented if everyone – including the disabled – would simply get routine screenings for cancer
after they turn 50.
Three ways to cut your colon cancer risk
So just how often do you need to get screened for colon cancer
after 50? The US Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening 50- to 75-year-olds. The Cancer
Association of South Africa (CANSA) says that people should go for tests as soon as concerning symptoms appear.
Keep these three simple ways to check for colon cancer in mind to cut your risk of the deadly disease:
Go for a colonoscopy every 10 years;
Go for a faecal occult blood test once a year; and
Go for a sigmoidoscopy every five years, plus a faecal occult blood test
every three years.
Early detection is key. The earlier your doctor diagnoses colon cancer, the higher your chances of survival.
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