Fact Or Fiction – The Truth About Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal Cancer is a disease that only affects older men.
FICTION: It can affect anyone, men or women equally. Men and women 50 years or older are at greater risk for the disease.
Colorectal Cancer is usually curable.
FACT: It is usually curable when detected early. More than 90 percent of patients with localized cancer confirmed to the colon or rectum are alive five years after initial diagnosis.
Getting tested is necessary for individuals who have symptoms.
FACT: Men and women age 50 or older should get screened regularly for colorectal cancer. Unfortunately, symptoms for this disease are often silent and therefore it is important to get screened regularly even if you have no symptoms. About 75 percent of all new cases of colorectal cancer occur in individuals with no known risk factors for the disease.
I cannot do anything about being diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
FICTION: Colorectal cancer is highly preventable. Some preventative measures include eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in fat, regular exercise, moderate alcohol consumption, and no smoking. In addition, it is extremely important to get screened for colorectal cancer after the age of 50. Screening can help to identify colorectal cancer in its early stages or before it even begins.
There really are no treatment options for colorectal cancer.
FICTION: Treatment will depend on the type, grade and stage of the cancer. Management of the disease may include surgery and radiation in the earlier stages of the disease, and chemotherapy options such as Camptosar®, Xeloda® or 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) are generally used in the later stages of the disease when the cancer has spread to other areas of the body.
No two individuals respond the same to therapy, but there is evidence to demonstrate that one or all of these treatment options can effectively aid people living with colorectal cancer.
I can have a good quality of life if diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
FACT: Many people diagnosed with colorectal cancer can have a good quality of life. There are effective treatment options, support groups, and supportive care to help cancer patients cope with the side effects of treatment, as well as the emotional and everyday concerns of living with this disease.
For more information on colorectal cancer, contact the Canadian Cancer Society toll free at 1-888-939-3333 or visit the web site at www.cancer.ca. Other excellent resources include the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada web site at www.ccac-accc.ca or The National Colorectal Cancer Campaign at www.coloncancercanada.ca.