These Deadly Cancers Are on the Rise: Are You at Risk?

By Jade Waddy

Recent stories in the media have highlighted two types of cancer that are on the rise in the United States. We asked two physicians affiliated with Memorial Hermann to comment on this news and how you should use it during your next doctor’s visit.

New Guidelines on Colon and Rectal Cancer Screenings

The American Cancer Society (ACS) recently updated its colon and rectal cancer screening recommendations for adults and lowered the age of getting screened from 50 to 45.

“The number of younger adults presenting with colorectal cancer is on the rise,” said Joseph Cali, MD, colon and rectal surgeon affiliated with Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center, “Because of this increase in younger adults developing this disease, the ACS found it important to lower the age of screening.”

Some risk factors for colorectal cancer include:

  • Family or personal history of colon or rectal polyps
  • Obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Diet high in red and processed meats

“When looking at the data over the years, we are starting to see a higher risk in younger white males, which has led to the change in guidelines,” added Dr. Cali. “Anyone who is asymptomatic and 45 should be screened for colorectal cancer even if they do not present any of the key risk factors.”

According to the ACS, colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men and women.  Cali added that African-Americans have a higher risk for the disease and ACS guidelines have encouraged screening at age 45 among the African-American population for a number of years.

To learn more about colorectal cancer and schedule a colonoscopy visit

Preventing Ovarian Cancer with Low-dose Aspirin

With Ovarian Cancer Month on the horizon in September, this is a good time to increase awareness about one of the most deadly cancers in women. According to ACS, ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women and accounts for more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. A woman has a one in 78 chance of getting ovarian cancer during her lifetime.

Key risk factors of ovarian cancer include:

  • Getting older
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Use of fertility treatment
  • Family history of cancer

Recent research has identified one, low dose of aspirin a day could help women avoid ovarian cancer or boost their survival should it develop. According to Concepcion R. Diaz-Arrastia, MD, gynecologic oncologist affiliated with Memorial Hermann Greater Heights Hospital, women should take this new research to their doctor first before adding a low dose of aspirin into their daily regimen.

“Adding a low dose aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug to a daily regimen may have multiple health benefits,” said Dr. Diaz-Arrastia. “This new research showing a decrease in risk of ovarian cancer and improved survival in patients with ovarian cancer suggests that the body’s inflammatory reaction may be detrimental to our health at several levels.”

“We know that these drugs are excellent in the treatment of pain from inflammation such as arthritis. Additionally, we have known that aspirin may decrease atherosclerotic plaques from building up and clogging arteries resulting in bad circulation or heart attacks,” added Diaz-Arrastia.

Dr. Diaz-Arrastia, who was not involved in the new study, advised that more studies need to be done, but the results offer evidence of the benefit of the use of anti-inflammatory medications and insight into prevention options.

The Memorial Hermann Cancer Centers provide comprehensive cancer care that focuses on both the patient and caregiver, offering personalized, evidence-based treatment of many types of cancers. To learn more about the Memorial Hermann Cancer Centers or to find the location nearest  you, visit

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