Posts Tagged ‘Cancer Prevention’
A MUST FOR PREVENTION:
I see people regularly in my practice that are over the age of 50 and have not yet had their colonoscopy screening. When I ask them why, they tell me that they don’t have any family history of colon cancer, or they have no bowel problems, or they are afraid of having cancer, or even that they simply mistrust the medical community – this is happening more frequently. Most of them have been asked by their Primary Care Doctors to have the screening test done, but it seems it was never properly explained to them WHY. I find that patient compliance is directly related to understanding WHY.
So… here is WHY:
First let me say that Colonoscopy is disease surveillance. Surveillance is necessary because colon cancer is silent and is often detected early via colonoscopy. Please also know that there are many ways to prevent colon cancer. One of the most important and easiest ways to lower your colon cancer risk is to optimize your vitamin D level. A vitamin D levels can be checked by a simple blood test. If you are deficient or less than optimal, you can increase your level of Vitamin D by either spending more daily time in the sun or by oral daily supplementation. It is important to monitor your Vitamin D level by getting tested every 6-12 months if taking high doses (above 2000iu) of orally supplemented Vitamin D3.
So… here is WHY having a screening Colonoscopy is so important:
- Colon cancer is very slow growing and can be seen early by colonoscopy
- By having a screening colonoscopy, changes in the colon can be detected before a cancer is formed. If these changes are detected early, the small precancerous growth(s) can be removed at the time of the screening procedure without additional intervention. Or if cancer is detected it can often be treated effectively.
- There are likely NO symptoms of colon cancer until the growth is large enough to cause complications and even death. Colonoscopy is a tool that is used to visualize these changes, thus allowing for early intervention of treatment.
- Screening Colonoscopy saves MANY lives.
Talk to your doctor about when you should have your screening colonoscopy. When you have your colonoscopy is determined by your age, your family history, general state of health and any symptoms you might be having, Signs and Symptoms that you experience that need to be evaluated by a physician and may require a colonoscopy.
- Change in bowel habits for more than a few weeks – constipation (less than three stools per week), diarrhea, thin stools
- Abdominal pain with bowel movement
- Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool
- Sensation that you “still” need to go after having a bowel movement
- Persistent cramps, gas, pain
- Iron deficiency anemia in a male or non-menstruating female
- Unexplained weight-loss
There are typically NO signs or symptoms in early colon cancer, which is why colonoscopy is ESSENTIAL. Pap Smears are necessary to diagnose “silent” cervical cancer, as colonoscopies are necessary to detect “silent” colon cancers. Both cancers are highly preventable and treatable.
Prevention strategies include drinking plenty of fresh clean water, eating whole fresh food, appropriate exercise, stress reduction and restorative sleep. In an earlier post you will find a list of “great” healthy foods. Try to have your diet consist primarily of the these foods to lower your risk of all disease.