March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

 Early detection is vital, over 90% of all cases of colon cancer can be prevented with recommended screening. Despite its high incidence, colon cancer is one of the most detectable and, if found early enough, most treatable forms of cancer.

If you’re 50 or older, getting a screening test for colon cancer could save your life. Here’s how:  Colon cancer usually starts from polyps in the colon or rectum. A polyp is a growth that shouldn't be there. Over time, some polyps can turn into cancer. A screening colonoscopy can find polyps, so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. A screening colonoscopy can also find colon cancer early. When it is found early, the chance of being cured is good.

You should begin screening for colorectal cancer soon after turning 50 and then keep getting screened regularly, we recommend every 5 years.  Some people are at a higher risk than others for developing colorectal cancer. Having any of these things may increase your risk—

  • Inflammatory bowel disease.
  • A personal or family history of colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer.
  • Genetic syndromes, like familial adenomatous polyposis or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (also known as Lynch syndrome).

If you think you may be at high risk for colorectal cancer, talk to your doctor about when and how often to get tested.

ACG: What Patients Need to Know Re: New Study Linking PPIs to Dementia

A recent study plublished  by a German Health Plan suggested an association between Proton Pump Inhibitor use and dementia in the elderly.  The following statement was released by Anerican College of Gastroenterology President Kenneth R DeVault MD FACG,  "We appreciate and respect the data in the study, but believe more research is needed to understand the impact of PPIs on cognitive function, especially since studies of this type do not control for diet or lifestyle factors, nor do they establish causation. The study authors noted that this analysis of administrative data from the health plan in Germany can only provide a statistical association between PPI prescription and occurence of dementia and does not prove that PPIs caused dementia.  They further recognized that in order to evaluate the cause and effect relationship in the elderly more research in the form of randomized prospective clinical trials are needed."

In light of this study, along with other recent studies suggesting complications with long-term PPI use, The ACG urges patients to discuss the use of PPIs and any other medications with their healthcare provider.  Dr. Elliot Heller on behalf of the physician staff at Digistive Disease Associates of Rockland noted that any patients who have any concerns about continue use of PPIs should contact us and/or set up a follow-up appointment.  He further commented that any patient with serious esophageal disorders should consult with us before stopping their medication or changing the dose.  

Understanding Your Risk of Esophageal Cancer

Esophageal Cancer is one of the fastest growing cancers in the United States. Clinical Studies have shown that several factors can make a person more likely to develop cancer of the esophagus.  The most recognized factor is whether a person has Barrett’s Esophagus which can increase one’s risk of cancer of the esophagus by 50 times or more.  The following are the other factors that add to the risk of developing cancer of the esophagus.

Gender: Males are approximately 7 times more likely to develop cancer of the esophagus than females

Race: Caucasians are at higher risk of developing Barrett’s Esophagus and Cancer of the esophagus than many other racial groups.

Weight: Obesity (Body mass Index >30) increases a person’s risk of developing cancer of the esophagus by more than 2 ½ times

Smoking: If a person smokes, the risk of developing cancer of the esophagus more than doubles compared to non-smokers.

Hiatal Hernia: Having a hiatal hernia (where a part of the stomach pushes up into the chest through an opening in the diaphragm) has also been suggested to increase a person’s risk of developing cancer of the esophagus.

Who should be screened for Barrett’s Esophagus or Cancer of the Esophagus?

When determining your risk of developing cancer of the esophagus, one can look to guidelines published by the American College of Physicians, American College of Gastroenterology, and the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy regarding who might be appropriate for screening for Barrett’s Esophagus and cancer of the esophagus by performing an endoscopy exam. They include:

Age & Gender: Men older than 50 years with chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms for more than 5 years with the additional risk factors such as: night-time reflux symptoms, hiatal hernia, overweight, particular around the belly, tobacco use and family history of Barrett’s esophagus or cancer of the esophagus.

Heartburn Along With Alarm Symptoms: A person who has heartburn along with alarm symptoms: difficulty swallowing, bleeding, anemia, weight loss, recurrent vomiting

Heartburn Symptoms Continuing Even With Medications:  A person whose GERD symptoms continue even while taking proton pump inhibitor (PPI) medications at high doses for 4-8 weeks.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) Awareness Week 2015

The week of November 23rd to November 29th is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) Awareness Week.  GERD happens when food and liquid from the stomach move back up into the esophagus, causing irritation of the lining of the esophagus. Illustration of endoscopic view of Barrett's esophagusThe symptoms of GERD may include:

  • Heartburn or burning in the chest

  • Regurgitation (bringing food back up)

  • Chest Pain

  • Nausea after eating

  • Sour taste in mouth

  • Coughing, choking or wheezing

  • Hiccups

  • Belching or burping excessively

  • Hoarseness or change in voice

  • Sore throat

  • Feeling that food is stuck behind the breastbone

These symptoms are usually worse at night; increased by bending, stooping, lying down or eating and temporarily relieved by antacids.

If you have chronic acid reflux or frequent heartburn, you are at risk for a condition called Barrett’s esophagus.  Barrett’s esophagus is a change in the lining of the esophagus. You are more likely to have this condition if you have had GERD for a long time. Left untreated, it can lead to cancer of the esophagus. About 3.3 million American adults have Barrett’s. There are no clear symptoms that mean someone has Barrett’s Esophagus.  In fact, when developing Barrett’s Esophagus, some may think that they are getting better because symptoms of GERD sometimes get better or even disappear. This could lead to a false sense of security. But even without symptoms they can feel, people with Barrett’s Esophagus still have a much greater risk of developing esophageal cancer.  

Barrett’s Esophagus may never go away, even with medication or change in diet.  That is why your gastroenterologist will check these patients on a regular basis to make sure the condition isn’t getting worse.  It is important to talk with your doctor when symptoms of GERD begin or if they have gone away. Your doctor may perform an upper endoscopy of EGD procedure to help diagnosis Barrett’s Esophagus and/or monitor changes to the lining of the esophagus.


FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE VISIT :  http://treatbarretts.com/





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