Saturday, April 13, 2024

CHRISTUS Health Emphasizes Importance of Cancer Screenings

by BIZ Magazine

In light of recent news regarding Kate Middleton, the Princess of Wales, revealing her cancer diagnosis, CHRISTUS Health underscores the significance of cancer screenings, particularly for younger adults. Middleton, aged 42, disclosed her cancer diagnosis following abdominal surgery earlier in the year, although the specific type of cancer was not disclosed.

Dr. Deepika Ralla

Dr. Deepika Ralla, hematologist and oncologist at CHRISTUS Highland Medical Center and Bossier Cancer Center, explained, “Abdominal cancer encompasses various types, including stomach, colon, ovarian, uterine, cervical, or liver-related cancers. Cancers detected in earlier stages, such as colon cancer and cervical cancer, generally have a more favorable prognosis.”

Recent recommendations from the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force advise adults to commence colorectal cancer screenings at age 45. While new cases of colon cancer have declined among adults aged 65 and older, there has been a steady 1% to 2% annual increase in individuals younger than 55 since the mid-1990s, according to the American Cancer Society.

Ralla highlighted the importance of considering family history in determining screening timelines. “For colon cancer, the guidelines have been revised to recommend screening at age 45 due to the trend of cancers emerging at younger ages. Individuals with a family history that places them at risk may need to undergo screening even earlier.”

Symptoms of abdominal cancer may include weight gain, persistent pain, changes in stool color or consistency, bloating, and an enlarged stomach. Ralla emphasized the importance of specificity when discussing abdominal cancers, noting that each type requires distinct considerations.

“Each cancer is unique, so it’s crucial to specify the type rather than using the general term ‘abdominal cancer.’ It can range from early-stage colon cancer to advanced-stage ovarian cancer,” she explained.

While colonoscopy remains the most effective screening method for colon cancer, Ralla acknowledged that it is underutilized. March is recognized as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, serving as a reminder for individuals to prioritize screenings.

“For those averse to colonoscopies, alternative stool tests are available,” Ralla stated. “Additionally, individuals with a family history of cancer or genetic syndromes should initiate discussions with their physicians.”

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