Home Entertainment Celebrities Kirstie Alley died of colon cancer | These are the disease early signs

Kirstie Alley died of colon cancer | These are the disease early signs

Kirstie Alley died of colon cancer | These are the disease early signs

Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer in the United States. For people aged 45 and up, doctors recommend a colonoscopy every ten years.

Following the news that actor Kirstie Alley died of colon cancer at the age of 71, several doctors and cancer specialists urged people to get recommended cancer screenings.

On Tuesday, Alley’s manager confirmed to NBC News that the actor died of colon cancer. Alley’s family said in a statement on Monday night that the cancer was discovered only recently.

“She was surrounded by her closest family and fought with great strength, leaving us with the certainty of her never-ending joy of living and whatever adventures lie ahead,” the statement said.

Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer in the United States and the second most lethal, trailing only lung cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 151,000 cases of colorectal cancer will be diagnosed this year.

However, colon cancer can be difficult to diagnose because symptoms can mimic those of other conditions such as hemorrhoids or irritable bowel syndrome.

“Unfortunately, colon cancer does not have many symptoms until it is advanced, which is why screening is so important,” said Dr. Paula Denoya, director of the Stony Brook Medicine Colorectal Surgery Residency Program.

According to Dr. Scott Kopetz, a professor in the department of gastrointestinal medical oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, the pandemic also likely delayed the detection of some new cases.

“Patients did not have easy access to routine colonoscopies during Covid. As a result, cancers that would have been detected earlier are now appearing later and at a more advanced stage “He stated this.

Because nearly 90% of colorectal cancer patients are over the age of 50, doctors recommend that everyone over the age of 45 have a colonoscopy every ten years.

However, diagnoses in younger adults are on the rise: According to the American Cancer Society, new cases of colorectal cancer among people under the age of 50 increased by more than 2% per year from 2012 to 2016.

“Not too long from now, it’s expected that 15% of colorectal cancers will be in people under 50,” said Dr. Joel Levine, co-director of UConn Health’s Colon Cancer Prevention Program.

According to the National Cancer Institute, the overall rate of new colorectal cancer cases in the United States has decreased from around 67 per 100,000 people in 1985 to around 34 in 2019.

Rectal bleeding or changes in bowel movements, such as constipation or diarrhea, can be early symptoms of the disease. Patients with advanced disease may also experience abdominal pain, fatigue, anemia, weight loss, or a loss of appetite.

However, Levine believes that people should have colonoscopies even if they feel healthy.

“One of the reasons I’m so particular about not waiting for symptoms is that it leads to the statement, ‘Well, I feel fine, everything’s fine.’ And by the time you notice a symptom, the horse has already left the barn “He stated.

Colonoscopies allow doctors to examine the colon and remove precancerous growths, potentially preventing cancer. However, sedation or anesthesia are required for the procedure, which can cost thousands of dollars without insurance.

“Patients face barriers to getting colonoscopies, whether it’s insurance, time away from work, they don’t want to do it, or they have medical issues that make it more risky,” Denoya explained.

Doctors may recommend a stool test as an alternative for patients experiencing these issues. There are several kinds: Cologuard, for example, can detect changes in a person’s DNA and should be performed every three years. According to Denoya, the test is effective at detecting cancer but less effective at detecting precancerous growths.

The FIT is a second type of stool test that looks for hidden traces of blood that may indicate the presence of cancer. Denoya stated that the test should be performed on an annual basis. Doctors will still recommend a colonoscopy if either test produces abnormal results.

Other risk factors for colon cancer, aside from age, include obesity and lifestyle factors such as smoking or drinking.

More than half of colorectal cancer diagnoses in the United States are due to behavioral patterns such as physical inactivity, diets high in red or processed meat, and a lack of fruits, vegetables, and fiber.

A family history of colon cancer may also increase one’s chances.

“If a person has a parent or sibling who had colon cancer, that person would begin screening 10 years younger than [when] their family member had it,” Denoya explained.

Patients diagnosed early have a high survival rate.

“If the patient has stage one or localized cancer, where it’s just in the colon and hasn’t spread elsewhere in the body, it’s about 90% curative with surgery,” Denoya said.

Chemotherapy or radiation may be required in more advanced cases. After five years, people whose tumors have spread to nearby lymph nodes or areas around the colon have a 72% chance of survival. Patients whose cancer has spread to other organs or distant lymph nodes have a 14% chance of survival.