What's Up Doc?
By Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS
percent of Americans "are contaminated with a widely-used sunscreen
ingredient called oxybensone that has been linked to allergies, hormone
disruption, and cell damage," revealed the US Centers for Disease Control
(CDC) study, which was circulated
Obesity Adds to Global Warming
this may sound funny or weird, obesity does contribute to global warming,
reported a team at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine via Reuter
Length of Sex
is a general impression that sex lasts longer than what it actually does. To set
the record straight, a survey was conducted by 34 sex therapists in the United
Folic Acid "Ineffective"
Folic Acid and vitamin B supplements, once thought to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) by significantly lowering the blood level of the amino acid homocysteine (a major CVD risk), have been found to be ineffective in reducing heart disease and stroke.
In a 7-year clinical research involving 5,000 women at high risk for CVD, it was shown that Folic Acid (Vitamin B-9) and vitamins B-6 and B-12 decreased the homocysteine level by 18.5% but failed to reduce the rate of cardiovascular events, according to the study that was published in the May 7 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.
The researchers reported that their results "are consistent with prior randomized trials performed primarily among men with established vascular disease and do not support the use of folic acid and B vitamin supplements as preventive interventions for (cardiovascular disease) in these high-risk fortified populations."
"Deadly" Canned Soda
In the past, we have alluded to the extra high sugar contents of soft drinks which, together with other high-carbo foods, contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes. All types of soft drinks, including the diet or light version, have also been implicated in a "grand slam" condition so called Metabolic Syndrome (combination of hypertension, diabetes, heart disease/stroke), a triple slap of major illnesses.
This topic today relates to an incident where a woman, on a Sunday boating trip, drank a can of soft drink from a boat refrigerator. She fell ill and was taken to the hospital the following day. She died two days later. The autopsy revealed she died of Leptospirosis, a deadly infection caused by dried rat urine, which contains highly toxic substances. Obviously, the can from which the victim drank, without washing, was contaminated with rat urine. These canned beverages (and all canned, bottled and packaged foods) are typically stored in warehouses prior to distribution to stores, where rodents may be present in either places. For canned soft drinks, its best to clean the top before opening, to use a straw or to drink from a glass. Obviously, general precautions must be taken for anything we ingest. #
The recent news about the discovery of colon cancer in former President Cory Aquino has put the spotlight on a dreaded disease which, today, could be detected early with a relatively simple diagnostic regimen, which includes colonoscopy.
What is Colonoscopy?
Colonoscopy is a procedure where a flexible endoscope (malleable tube like a telescope), equipped with fiberoptic lighting and (video CCD) camera, is passed through the anus, to view and examine the inner walls of the colon (large bowels) and distal part of the small bowels for any abnormality, like bleeding, ulcers, or the presence of benign poly(s), or cancer. Thru the colonoscope, excision of polyps, or biopsies may also be performed for a definitive microscopic tissue diagnosis. A sigmoidoscope is another scope that examines the final two feet of the colon, while the colonoscope examines the rest of the entire colon which is about four to five feet long. Many times it is done in conjunction with colonoscopy.
How common is cancer of the colon and rectum?
cancer is the third-most common cancer in humans, topped only by cancer of the
lungs and female breasts. More than 150,000 people in the
Are meat-eaters more prone to colorectal cancer?
It appears to be so, because colorectal cancer is found more prevalent in populations whose diet is low in fiber and high in animal proteins, fats, and refined carbohydrates. The incidence of colorectal cancer is indeed high among those who eat red meat (pork, beef, etc) compared to those who eat high fiber diets (vegetables, fruits, wheat, bran, etc) and fish. The other predisposing factors include chronic ulcerative colitis, ganulomatous colitis, and familial polyposis. The older the person is, the higher the risk. Smoking, in general, severely increases the risk for cancer formation of the lungs and various organs in the body, not to mention pulmonary diseases, heart attack and stroke.
What are the signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer?
The person may not have symptoms at all. It could be so subtle, like fatigue and anemia. Blood in the stool (black or bloody red stools) is one common sign. The others include change in the bowel habits, diarrhea or constipation, stools more slender or flatter than usual, stomach discomfort, bloating, fullness, abdominal cramps, frequent gas pains, unexplained weight loss, a sensation that the rectum does not empty completely. Not all these symptoms and signs need to be present or necessary, to suspect possible presence colorectal cancer. Any one of these, if persistent, should alert one to seek medical help.
When should colonoscopy be done?
Everyone 50 years old and older should have an annual fecal occult blood test (FOBT), a rectal digital exam, and a prophylactic colonoscopy every 3 to 5 years. Since blood in the feces is one of the earliest signs of colorectal cancer, testing for blood in the stools yearly among those 50 and older is essential, and could be lifesaving. And so with prophylactic rectal digital examination and colonoscopy.
How do we prevent colorectal cancer?
(fruits and vegetables, bran, oat, wheat) and fish diet will tremendously reduce
the risk of colorectal cancer. Therefore, staying away from animal protein, like
red meat (pork, beef and anything made of these) is a big factor in preventing
the development of colorectal cancer, besides heart attack and stroke. Daily
exercises make our body healthier and more resistant to illnesses. Abstinence
from tobacco is a must. Checking your stools for blood every time you defecate
and reporting any warning signs listed above to your physician will help. Recta
Exam and colonoscopy are strongly recommended as stipulated above.
What is the treatment for colorectal cancer?
Depending on the stage and location of the colorectal cancer, the primary strategy is wide surgical resection of the cancer and regional lymphatic drainage. Cure is possible in 75% of surgical patients. For cancer limited to the mucosa (surface lining of the wall of the colon), 5-year survival is about 90%; those cancer going deeper into the mucularis propia (muscle-layer of colon), 80%; those with positive lymph nodes, meaning cancer already spreading to the lymph nodes, 30%. Other modalities of treatment include pre-operative radiotherapy, adjuvant radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. When surgery and/or any of these other modalities are indicated will depend on the location, extent and stage of the colorectal cancer.
What is the outlook for colorectal cancer patients?
is no question that the outlook for colorectal cancer and most other cancers in
general, is much better today, depending on their stages when first diagnosed.
This is why we cannot overemphasize the common-sense wisdom that prevention is
the best "treatment," especially when dealing with any potentially
deadly disease like cancer, heart attack, stroke, AIDS, etc. New hopes for
cancer victims are in the pipeline of dozens of research/clinical laboratories
Who's the Writer?
writer is a Cardiac Surgeon from
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