Screenings, genetic testing can help detect colorectal cancer
Contact: Elizabeth Allen, 210-450-2020
SAN ANTONIO (March 20, 2014) – March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, the perfect time to check with your doctor to see if having a colonoscopy would be appropriate for you. A colonoscopy is a screening test for colon cancer.
Colon cancer is the third-most common cancer diagnosis and cause of cancer death in both men and women in Texas. An increased use of screening tests, however, has contributed to a decline in these deaths.
Baseline colonoscopy recommended
Colon cancer generally occurs in adults over the age of 50, and for most people a baseline colonoscopy at age 50 can dramatically decrease the risk of dying of colon cancer.
Genetic risk factors
Changes in diet and lifestyle factors are likely to have a substantial overall impact on risk of colon cancer; however there are other risk factors that cannot be changed. Some of those include the genetic predisposition to develop colorectal polyps, a personal or family history of colon cancer, increasing age, certain diseases that cause inflammation of the large intestine or ulcerative colitis and certain genetic changes.
Sometimes families carry a genetic trait that increases the risk of colon cancer. This is especially likely when someone in the family is diagnosed at a young age. Also, women in families with a strong history of colon cancer may be at increased risk of cancer of the uterus. In both colon and uterine cancer, early detection has been proven to increase the likelihood of a successful outcome with long-term cure.
If a person has a family history of colon cancer, particularly if a family member has been diagnosed when younger than 50, genetic risk assessment can help determine whether genetic counseling or testing would be a good idea.
Free genetic risk assessment
The UT Health Science Center San Antonio has a genetic risk assessment and testing program in San Antonio, Laredo and the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Called GRACIAS, the risk assessment program is free to eligible individuals.
These services are offered by the UT Health Science Center academic sites in San Antonio, Laredo and the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Individuals interested in a cancer genetic risk assessment may contact the Genetic Risk Assessment for Cancer in All South Texas (GRACIAS Texas) Program staff to schedule an appointment. GRACIAS is funded by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT).
To make an appointment
The Cancer Therapy & Research Center (CTRC) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is one of the elite academic cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Cancer Center, and is one of only four in Texas. A leader in developing new drugs to treat cancer, the CTRC Institute for Drug Development (IDD) conducts one of the largest oncology Phase I clinical drug programs in the world, and participates in development of cancer drugs approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. For more information, visit www.ctrc.net.
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