Wed, Mar 11, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Wellness clinic urges awareness of colon cancer

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Nearly one out of five people who undergo a colonoscopy turn out to have cancerous polyps, which can develop into colon cancer that kills an average of 5,000 people in the nation per year, a medical clinic said yesterday.

“According to our colonoscopy statistics from 2012 to last year, of the 26,674 people who underwent a colonoscopy, 24 percent were found to have highly cancerous adenomatous polyps, meaning one out of every five people is at risk of colon cancer,” Lianan Wellness Center superintendent Cheng Nai-yuan (鄭乃源) told a news conference in Taipei yesterday afternoon.

Further analysis of the data found that 48 percent of the polyps were located in the rectum and right side of the colon, while the percentage of polyps growing on the right side of the colon away from the anus has significantly risen over the past three years from an average of 30 percent to 52 percent.

The trend runs counter to the common belief that polyps are more prevalent on the left side of the colon, Cheng said.

People with a family history of colon cancer, unhealthy dietary habits and obesity are considered a high-risk group for colon cancer, Cheng said.

Cheng cited a 38-year-old female office worker surnamed Wang (王) as an example, saying she frequently ate out and often consumed fast food and sweetened beverages for dinner.

“Wang had maintained her weight and did not suffer from constipation. However, a health checkup found six adenomatous polyps on the right side of her colon, each one about 1cm in diameter,” Cheng said.

Statistics showed that about one-third of colon polyps measuring 1cm will become cancerous within a decade, Cheng said.

People are advised to undergo a colonoscopy if they notice sudden weight loss, changes in bowel movements or blood in their stool, Cheng said. “They are also urged to consume at least 1,500cc of water and three servings of fruits and vegetables per day, while choosing fish and chicken as their main source of protein.”

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