Colorectal cancer is a major killer in the U.S., but it’s relatively simple to prevent through early screening and detection, the topic of the May 10 free public lecture at the Cancer Therapy & Research Center at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Several methods exist for colorectal screening, but the gold standard is the colonoscopy, which has a reputation as an unpleasant experience that many people would rather avoid.
Here’s why they shouldn’t, said Glenn Gross, M.D., clinical professor of gastroenterology in the School of Medicine at the UT Health Science Center.
“The risk of colon cancer is a problem to be taken seriously, and it’s a problem that can be prevented,” said Dr. Gross, who will discuss screening options at the lecture, which will run from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on the 4th floor of the Grossman Building at the CTRC, 7979 Wurzbach Rd., San Antonio.
“It’s a matter of putting it in perspective,” said Dr. Gross. “I’ll explain the process, answer questions and really emphasize the benefits.”
When it comes to colon cancer, healthy living in itself is not a clear preventative.
“There’s some evidence that it’s helpful if you lose weight and get more fiber in your diet, and that certainly helps other aspects of your health, but that’s not going to prevent colon cancer,” he said. “It’s really a matter of screening.”
And the colonoscopy process is not as bad as its reputation suggests, especially in light of the benefits, he noted.
“The preparation process has improved, we use sedation and we treat people with dignity.”
An estimated 52,000 people die in the U.S. each year from colon cancer, and a recent study showed that appropriate colonoscopies could cut that rate in half. The long-term study of 2,600 patients showed that colonoscopies in which precancerous polyps were detected and removed cut the death rate in that group by 53 percent.
“If there’s one message here,” Dr. Gross said, “it’s that we can prevent colon cancer.”
For more information, call 210-450-1152. Also sponsored by H-E-B and the Institute for the Integration of Medicine and Science at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio.
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.