Of a Certain Age? Time for a Colonoscopy

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital December 16, 2016

The American Cancer Society recommends that both men and women undergo a colonoscopy every 10 years, beginning at age 50.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in both men and women in the United States. The gold standard screening procedure for colon cancer is a colonoscopy, a test that allows your doctor to examine the inner lining of the large intestine (rectum and colon) for polyps, ulcerations, diverticulosis and early signs of cancer.

“Unlike other screening tests, a colonoscopy actually prevents cancer by allowing us to find and remove lesions before they become problematic,” said Dr. Jessica R. Allegretti, a gastroenterologist in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endoscopy at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH).

In fact, due to increased awareness about screenings, the death rate from colorectal cancer has been dropping for more than 20 years. Read More »

10 Essential Health Screenings for Men

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital June 3, 2014

Every man should have their blood pressure checked regularly. This can be done at the doctor’s office or at home.

Detecting symptoms of certain health conditions early, when they are more easily treatable, is a critical factor in helping men stay healthy. That’s why getting all your doctor-recommended health care screenings in a timely fashion is the kind of to-do list that no man should ignore.

Below is information about ten important health screenings for men, including the appropriate timing for each

1. Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

Men between the ages of 65 and 75 who have ever smoked tobacco should get screened for an abdominal aortic aneurysm. An imaging test, such as a computed tomography (CT) scan, ultrasound, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study, can help determine the presence, size, and extent of an aortic aneurysm. The major risk of this aortic bulging is a rupture resulting in severe or fatal internal bleeding.

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Reducing Colon Cancer Risk – A New Use for Aspirin?

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital October 1, 2013

New research suggests that aspirin use may lower the risk of colon cancer.

The earliest forms of aspirin were discovered centuries ago. Originally, aspirin was used as a pain reliever. In 1989, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) published the results of the Physician’s Health Study, which found that aspirin also helped prevent heart attacks. Now, nearly 25 years later, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital have published new research suggesting that aspirin may have another use – lowering the risk of colon cancer.

Using data from the Women’s Health Study, a team of researchers led by Dr. Nancy Cook, BWH Division of Preventive Medicine, analyzed data collected from roughly 40,000 women aged 45 years or older. Approximately half of the women studied received low-dose (100 mg) aspirin every other day for ten years. The other half of the study participants received a placebo or inactive pill. Researchers continued to gather data from women who agreed to follow up for 18 years. At the end of the ten-year study period, there was no difference between the two groups in terms of overall cancer rates. However, at the end of the 18-year follow-up period, those women who had taken low-dose aspirin had a 21 percent lower rate of colorectal cancer versus those who had taken the placebo. The study did not find any differences in the occurrence of other cancer types or cancer deaths between the two groups.

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Preventing Cancer’s Return

Posted by Blog Administrator May 21, 2012

Dr. Ligebel helps Sylvia develop an exercise routine

Dr. Jennifer Ligibel (right) is one of numerous researchers at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center looking at the impact of exercise and other lifestyle factors on cancer recurrence.

While certain habits are known to increase risk of developing cancer, little information has been available about the effect of lifestyle after cancer diagnosis – until recently. Mounting research is showing that diet, exercise, and other lifestyle factors can make a difference in the chances of cancer recurrence and survival after cancer develops.

“We are seeing that the choices people make can influence results,” says Dr. Jeffrey Meyerhardt, Director of Clinical Trials in the Center for Gastrointestinal Oncology at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center.

Studies led by Dr. Meyerhardt have found that rates of colon cancer recurrence are lower in people who eat a healthy diet, exercise, and take aspirin. Conversely, a diet high in red meat, refined grains (such as white bread), and sugary desserts may increase risk of colon cancer recurrence.

Research has found that women who are physically active after breast cancer diagnosis have a 30 to 50 percent lower risk of breast cancer recurrence, breast cancer death, and overall death compared with sedentary individuals. Dr. Jennifer Ligibel, a medical oncologist and researcher in the Center for Breast Oncology at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, has explored processes linking cancer and exercise, as well as ways to motivate sedentary cancer survivors to begin exercising.

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