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  • Print publication year: 2004
  • Online publication date: August 2009

20 - Colon, lung, and skin cancer: screening and prevention

from Part IV - Cancer prevention


Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer and the third most common cause of cancer death in women. Fecal occult blood testing (FOBT), sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, and a combination of these three methods are all considered valid screening methods. Screening after the age of 50 is suggested because of the prevalence of colon cancer in this age group. Between 5% and 10% of colon cancer has an inherited base, although only a few mutated genes are known. Colon cancer can be asymptomatic or may appear as iron-deficient anemia, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, change of bowel habits or constipation. The most common cause of lung cancer is smoking, which accounts for 90% of lung cancers. Surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy are the treatments, with surgery being the treatment of choice if the cancer is local. Excessive exposure to radiation, excessive tanning and burning, and fair complexion are risk factors for skin cancer.
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