Colon Cancer: Colonoscopies

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Posted: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 4:22 pm | Updated: 4:42 pm, Wed Jul 3, 2013.

150,000 people will be told they have colon cancer this year. 50,000 will die from it, but most of them don't have to.

What you don't know about colonoscopies, could be deadly.

People joke about it, but the fact is, "Colon cancer is the number two cancer killer in America of both men and women," second only to lung cancer.

Colorectal Surgeon Zuri Murrell can't understand why people are still dying of it. "Colonoscopies are done to prevent cancer, and I think that's what makes this disease so preventable and so treatable."

This ball could have been trouble. It's a pre-cancerous polyp caught by a colonoscopy. Here's what you need to know about them. First off-guidelines have been revised. White men and women should get their first colonoscopy at 50 if there's no family history. But for African-Americans, the age has changed. "Start at 45. Start at 45."

The preparation has changed too. Traditionally, patients would have to drink four liters of an awful tasting, prescribed liquid the day before a colonoscopy. Now there's a new prep. Drink 64 ounces of Gatorade, mixed with 230 grams of Miralax and three tablespoons of milk of magnesia. "Number one, it tastes better and it can be bought over the counter without needing a prescription."

To cut your risk of colon cancer, cut hot dogs out of your diet. The Texas Medical Association says they're full of nitrites and increase the risk of cancer. The American Cancer Society says pork may worsen colon health because it's high in fat and iron. The number one food to avoid is beef. "We know the people who don't get it, don't eat a lot of red meats."

A few facts to help you stay colon cancer free. "If you don't want it then you better put a scope in it."

Soon there may be an at-home screening test to make the entire process even easier and more private.

The experimental DNA test can find abnormalities in a person's stool and possibly alert them to any pre-cancerous tumors.

In a recent study, the DNA test detected 87 percent of colorectal cancers in curable stages.

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