Friday, March 11, 2011

Colon Cancer Can be Prevented

The below article was printed in the March 10, 2011 issue of The Rolla Daily News. I thought this would be a great time to remind everyone that there are several options for screening for all types of cancer.

The best option to prevent cancer from forming, is of course, eating a healthy diet that includes lots of different colored fruits and vegetables, fiber, lean proteins and healthy fats... and making sure you get enough exercise.

For prevention and early detection, we offer an indican test. This test checks the urine to detect any bacterial or toxic buildup on the walls of the colon. If the colon is caked with fecal matter which is not being eliminated as it should, this sludge can become toxic, and since the colon has two main jobs, one of them being storage of waste material and the other being reabsorption of water back into the body, it's important to make sure that the colon is clean. If the colon is crusted with toxins, these toxins can be reabsorbed into the body. These toxins are also what cause infections, polyps and diverticulitis. An indican test is $33 and it's one of the best ways to prevent future problems.

It's important to know when you have a colon issue. We recommend that you have an indican test occassionally to check your colon status, and you should also check for blood in your stool. There is a simple test for blood in the stool. This test is great because you can do it in the comfort of your own home and it can detect blood which may not be able to be seen by the naked eye. You just drop it into the commode and it changes colors if it finds blood. This packet is only $25 and can be picked up at our office any time.

We also offer blood testing for all tumor markers. The AMAS test checks the entire body for cancer antigens. There are several specific tumor marker tests that you can also choose to look for, such as; breast, pancreas, colon, prostate and liver... If you are concerned about your cancer risk, stop in and discuss your options with one of our helpful staff.

Here is the article I mentioned...
Each year when Kelly Kibirige celebrates another birthday, it's not just a mark of being a year older. For Kibirige, 50, it's another year being cancer free.

"I always told people I had rot gut," said Kibirige, a registered nurse, who was diagnosed with colon cancer when she was 46. "At least three times a week I'd have a combination of indigestion, bloating, abdominal pain, and other issues. It wasn't until I saw blood in my stool that I went to the hospital."

That was August 2006. It took several more months of similar symptoms appearing and disappearing with treatment before she had a fecal occult blood test (FOBT). The test showed Kibirige had Stage 1 colon cancer.

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Kibirige hopes that Missourians in Dunklin County make sure to get routine visits and screenings for colon cancer. Making the decision can be a life-saver. Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States.

Colorectal cancer, also known as colon cancer, caused more than 50,000 deaths in 2007. With routine screenings like colonoscopies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that as many as 60 percent of these deaths could be prevented. That would mean more than 8,000 lives saved in Missouri, based on Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) data from 1998 and 2008, or 103 lives in Dunklin County.

You can take steps to help colon cancer. Colon cancer occurs when an unusual growth, or polyp, forms in the colon. If these growths go untreated, they can become cancerous and begin to spread. This is why early detection is very important.

Colon cancer affects men and women equally, but African Americans are at a higher risk than other ethnic groups. Because 90 percent of all cases affect those 50 and older, the American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that everyone begin colon cancer screening at age 50. Those with a family history of the disease should talk with their doctor about beginning screening tests earlier. Those who show symptoms like Kibirige did should talk to their doctor, too.

When colon cancer is detected early, there is a 90 percent survival rate. However in 2008, only 61 percent of Missourians over the age of 50 had ever had one of these screenings.

"I often wonder if the cancer could have been a small polyp when I was in the hospital in August 2006," said Kibirige, who works in the St. Joseph's Health Department. "I should have insisted the nurse tell my doctor. Blood in stool is not normal. It may be something small or it could be cancer. Now, I tell people to ask questions, insist on getting answers or get a second opinion. It is your body."

There are several steps everyone can take to prevent colon cancer. The ACS and Health Literacy Missouri recommend the following :

* Get screened. Most medical insurance will cover a colonoscopy starting at age 50. An FOBT costs only $10-25.

* Eat a balanced diet. Foods high in fat and cholesterol increase your risk of colon cancer. Limit the amount of processed and red meat in your diet. A healthy diet includes five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day and whole grains.

* Exercise. Obesity increases the risk of colon cancer. As little as 30 minutes of exercise, for five days each week, will lower your risk.

* Avoid tobacco and limit alcohol. Smoking cigarettes or using tobacco products can increase the size of polyps. Men should not have more than two drinks per day. Women should stop at one.