No one likes to talk about disease and cancer, but avoiding these subjects won’t make the reality of them disappear. Colorectal cancer is the 2nd or 3rd leading cause of death among all cancers (depending on your source.) Approximately 137,000 men and women will be diagnosed with this disease in 2015 and approximately 50,000 will lose their lives as a result.
As a chiropractic physician I believe strongly in preventative healthcare. Actively managing one’s health reduces the chances for all types of diseases while enhancing the potential for quality health. There are multiple types of screenings the consumer can choose from. Naturally, there are limitations with some and risks with others. Discussing these options with ALL your doctors will give you more information to make a better informed decision. Remember that indecision (although a decision) is rarely the best option.
I had a colonoscopy in 2015 as a routine preventative test. Many people avoid this procedure out of fear. If fear of pain is preventing you from undergoing this type of procedure, rest assured that certain methods can avoid ALL PAIN. When I had my procedure, I was given propofol, a short term anaesthetic drug for procedural sedations. The result was a comfortable sleep and recovery permitting the gastroenterologist to thoroughly do his job without any conscious pain on my part. It was quick and easy and did not create any down time (although they recommended not to drive or operate heavy machinery for the rest of the day.)
As a doctor who actively participates and carefully monitors my own health, the results of the procedure produced 2 polyps that required biopsies. After receiving the pathology report, it was determined that the polyps removed (ALSO PAINLESS) were benign. The gastroenterologist was courteous, professional and thorough performing the procedure. I was surprised, however, that recommendations were not offered to produce better future results.
This created great concerns about the lack of information and education provided to me (as the patient) regarding the finding of polyps. Once the biopsies were determined to be benign, the instructions provided to me consisted of:
Follow up colonoscopy in 5 years.
Since there were abnormal findings (in this case polyps) why wasn’t the medical protocol to explain the modifications in lifestyle necessary to potentially reduce the risk for additional abnormal findings in 5 years. Leaving the patient void of responsibility because the abnormalities weren’t aggressive (i.e. cancer) seems like a poor choice. Usually, doing more of the “same stuff” is likely to produce more of the “same outcome” or worse! Based on my experience, I thought it might be beneficial for all readers of this article to understand that optional lifestyle modifications exist to reduce the chances for developing polyps, colorectal cancer, cancer in general as well as other health maladies.
What are the the most important factors YOU ARE IN CONTROL OF for reducing the chances of colorectal cancer?
Diet and Nutrition
Numbers 2-5 are self explanatory. I will provide some specific nutritional items to incorporate into your current dietary habits that effectively prevent, attack and inhibit colon cancer and the tumors they produce. There are other risk factors we can’t control such as age and family history, but it is important to realize that genetic markers only increase risk FACTORS; they do NOT guarantee the expression of these markers. Lifestyle is the biggest factor determining the likelihood of being diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
The following partial list was compiled from an article written by Margie King, a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition:
Nuts -about 28 grams per serving (about a quarter cup) about 5 times a WEEK (not 5 times a day!)
Kimchi – a fermented vegetable dish from Korea
Miso (fermented for 180 days)
Honey (caffeic acid in the honey inhibits colon cancer cell growth)
Red yeast rice
Some of the items on this list will be unfamiliar to you. A little research is a healthy activity that stimulates brain neurons. Give it a shot. Besides, knowledge is a powerful tool when combating disease or maintaining a healthy body.
Although this list is not comprehensive, it offers a good starting point. The object is to incorporate various nutrients; NOT to eat the entire list in one meal! By changing your eating habits and improving the other four components listed above, your ACTIVE role in preventative health will reduce your chances of developing this commonly asymptomatic (without symptoms) disease.
Literature also commonly states to avoid red meat and processed meat if possible as well as frying and grilling foods to the point of burning them. Personally, I am not comfortable with a blanket statement regarding red meat, because too many variables might be interfering with the real facts. I am comfortable suggesting limiting or avoiding processed meats and avoid burning foods in frying pans and grills. Known carcinogenic compounds are produced cooking foods in this manner.
Even if you comply with all of these recommendations, preventative screenings are still essential. Remember, there are various options of screenings. Discuss these options with ALL of your trained licensed physicians (chiropractor, naturopath, medical, homeopathic, etc…) to get varying opinions to assist you with making the final decision. Don’t let FEAR prevent you from acting in your own best interest.