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Incidence of Colorectal Cancer in LSAH Participants (LSAHNEWSV8_2_2)
Research Area:
Clinical medicine
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human

Colorectal cancer, cancer of both the colon and rectum, is the third most common type of cancer among both men and women in the United States. The American Cancer Society predicts that there will be 129,400 new cases diagnosed this year alone resulting in 54,900 deaths. Though many individuals with colon cancer or some form of benign neoplasm (e.g. new or abnormal tumor or growth) are asymptomatic, those with symptoms may experience rectal bleeding, blood in the stool, or a change in bowel habits.

Though everyone is at risk of developing colon cancer, certain factors put some at a greater risk than others. The most important risk factor is increasing age. Individuals age 65 and older make up 73% of all newly diagnosed colorectal cancer cases. Other important risk factors include a family history of colorectal cancer, personal medical history of polyps or inflammatory bowel disease, and a diet high in animal fats. Men and African Americans have a higher incidence and mortality rate as compared with women and other ethnic groups. Factors that may decrease the risk of colorectal cancer include a diet high in fruits and vegetables, regular physical activity, hormone replacement therapy in postmenopausal women, and regular aspirin use.

Modern technology has increased the opportunity to prevent and control invasive disease. These modern techniques have reduced the incidence and mortality possibly due to increased screening and subsequent polyp removal. Screening is recommended beginning at age 50 for both men and women of average risk and before age 50 for individuals with a strong family or personal history of colorectal cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends three basic screening options. One option is the combination of Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT), Digital Rectal Exam (DRE), and sigmoidoscopy. Normal test results require an annual repeat FOBT and a sigmoidoscopy every 5 years. Another option is the colonoscopy and DRE. Normal results require a repeat test every 10 years. Finally, there is the doublecontrast barium enema and sigmoidoscopy combination. Normal results require a repeat exam every 5-10 years.

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National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Colorectal Cancer Incidence of LSAH Participants. In: Longitudinal Study of Astronaut Health Newsletter. December 1999;8(2):2.

Sigmoid (colon)

Data Information
Data Availability
Archive is complete. No data sets are available for this experiment. Please Contact LSDA if you know of available data for this investigation.


Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
LSAH 01/01/1989 05/31/2010 21 years

Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Johnson Space Center (JSC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Johnson Space Center LSDA Office
Project Manager: Jessica Keune
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)