colonoscopy, colon cancer, endoscope, gut flora, post-colonoscopy

Researchers are reporting that colorectal cancer is killing an increasing number of American adults under 55. The death rate has risen noticeably since the mid 1990s.

Colorectal Cancer Is Killing White People More Often:

The increased mortality is limited to white Americans. African Americans have actually experienced a decline in mortality from this cancer. They are still more likely to die of colorectal cancer than white people of a similar age, however.

What Can We Do?

The authors of the research encourage earlier detection and prompt follow-up of any symptoms such as a change in bowel habits, rectal bleeding, abdominal cramping, fatigue or unexplained weight loss.

Siegel, Miller & Jemal, JAMA, Aug. 8, 2017

People can do some things to reduce their risk of colorectal cancer: quit smoking (Barrow et al, Journal of Pathology, online Aug. 9, 2017); stay fit (Vainshelboim et al, Annals of Epidemiology, July 2017); eat fish or take fish oil (Lee et al, Clinical Nutrition Research, July 2017); and take aspirin if the doctor recommends it (Chen & Stark, Biomedicines, July 18, 2017).

Colorectal cancer screening can also help prevent the development of such cancers. During a colonoscopy, the physician removes any polyps that might turn into cancers. Usually, people schedule an initial colonoscopy around age 50. Perhaps these new data suggest that earlier screening could help save lives.

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  1. Rick
    Norfolk, VA

    I will NOT ever have a colonoscopy. I weigh 130 and I’m 5′ 11″. I do not eat beef and avoid artery clogging foods. Never smoked or used drugs, and I also get a LOT of fiber, so I asked my doctor why I should have one? He didn’t have a good answer.

    A friend had a preventive colonoscopy. The anesthesia used for this procedure caused her to have vision problems, which she still has. And, there are discussions online about this problem. Furthermore, the doctor who performed the procedure found a polyp and removed it. It was tested to be negative.

    But there was no previous discussion about the polyp being removed. What if it had been cancerous? Removing it may have caused the cancer to spread. What about the side effects to the anesthesia or the nasty stuff you have to drink before the procedure?

    In general, it’s MY body, not the doctor’s body. I don’t want a doctor inside my body scraping off or removing anything without my prior permission, and that includes my colon. Doctors need to have a discussion about the colonoscopy so that the patient can decide whether it’s worth the risk. I have had polyps in my nose for 40 years that come and go. One doctor removed them. Of course they grew back again. But they come and go. I believe this may happen in the colon, as well. I don’t want a doctor messing with them. I’ll continue to use prevention methods to protect my colon.

    Although I have hundreds of doctors I can go to where I live, I drive 100 miles to a doctor who practices joint decision-making. That type of doctor is rare to find. I bring him knowledge that I learn from this show, and we discuss it. Sometimes he does more research and get’s back with me on what he’s learned. That’s what I expect doctors to do!

  2. Gayle

    Great suggestions about fitness

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