Colon Cancer and the Importance Colonoscopies

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Colon Cancer Signs and Symptoms:

Many with colon cancer may have no symptoms or signs in the early stages of the disease. Symptoms when they do appear, they may likely vary, depending on the size or spread and the location. In some instances, symptoms may be from a condition other than cancer, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and sometimes diverticulosis. Abdominal pain and or swelling may also indicate colon problems such as perforation.

Blood in the stool may be a sign of cancer, but it can also indicate other problems. Bright red blood that may be noticed on bathroom tissue, may come from hemorrhoids or minor tears (fissures) in the anus, for example. Also, certain foods, such as beets or red licorice may be the culprit as they can turn the stools red. Iron supplements and some medications may make stools black. It is always best to have any sign of blood or change in the stools checked promptly by a health practitioner of your choice because it can be a sign of something more serious.

Here is a list of the most common warning signs of Colon Cancer:

  • Pain in the lower abdominal area
  • Abdominal mass or hardness in the abdomen
  • Change in the consistency of stool for more than a couple of weeks
  • Diarrhea lasting more than several days
  • Significant change in bowel habits including diarrhea or constipation
  • Chronic colon problems with bowel movements which would include abdominal pain during bowel movement
  • Obstruction of bowel movements
  • Narrow stools
  • Persistent abdominal pain or discomfort, such as cramps, gas pain
  • A feeling that the bowel doesn’t empty completely
  • Iron deficiency anemia (may indicate bleeding in the colon)
  • Rectal bleeding or blood in the stool
  • Significant and or unexplained weight loss

If colon cancer symptoms are present, advanced symptoms of colon cancer, or rectal cancer (also known as colorectal cancer) it is important to know that colon cancers account for appox. 90% of all intestinal cancers and is the second highest cause of cancer deaths for men and women each year. 50 years and older is the most common colon cancer age, about 90% will fall into this age group.  Those with a family history of polyps run a higher risk of having bowel cancer.  There is also a 10% risk of ulcerative colitis (colon ulcers) turning malignant or cancerous.  A history of chronic constipation or improper elimination will also increase the cancer risk.  Symptoms of colon cancer commonly do not give early warning signs of cancer, but through history, examination, and testing, a colon cancer symptoms diagnosis or determination of the presence of cancer can be determined.

What causes colon cancer?

Cancer affects the cells, the basic units of life. Healthy cells grow and divide in an orderly way to keep the body functioning normally. But sometimes this growth gets out of control and cells continue dividing even when new cells aren’t needed. In the colon and rectum, this exaggerated growth may cause precancerous polyps (adenomas, or adenomatous polyps) to form in the lining of your intestine. Over a long period of time [spanning up to several years] some of these polyps may become cancerous. In later stages of the disease, cancerous polyps may penetrate the colon walls and spread to lymph nodes and other organs.

“Acidosis” is the scientific term for a body that has a pH below 7.0. or too acid. In this state, the body is deprived of oxygen causing one to be more susceptible to colds, flus and other diseases/infections. This state, according to science, also contributes to cancer — including colon cancer.

Acidosis is the cause of America’s #2 killer-cancer. In order to understand the basics of cancer, according to science, we must first understand the acid/alkaline balance. The prime cause of cancer is the replacement of the respiration of oxygen in normal body cells by a fermentation of sugar.

Interesting pH Facts

Over 75 years ago, Dr. Otto Warburg was awarded two Nobel prizes for demonstrating that cancer results when weakened cell respiration occurs due to lack of oxygen at the cellular level. According to this research damaged cell respiration causes fermentation, resulting in low pH at the cellular level. Is research has yet to be disputed, meaning it is accepted as fact because it has never been disproven.

Dr. Otto Warburg described the environment of the cancer cell: A normal healthy cell undergoes an adverse change when it can no longer take in oxygen to convert glucose into energy. In the absence of oxygen, the cell reverts to a primal nutritional program to nourish itself by converting glucose through the process of fermentation. The lactic acid produced by fermentation lowers the cell pH and destroys the ability of DNA and RNA to control cell division. Cancer cells then begin to multiply without restraint.

The lactic acid simultaneously causes severe local pain as it destroys cell enzymes; the cancer appears as a rapidly-growing external cell covering with a core of dead cells. We know cell masses of this description as “tumors.”

Colon Cancer Polyps

Polyps can occur anywhere in the large intestine. The colon makes up the upper 4 to 5 feet of the large intestine, and the rectum makes up the lower 4 to 5 inches. The colon absorbs water, salt and other minerals from food and stores waste until it is taken out of the body through elimination..

Polyps, can be either mushroom-shaped or flat, and may be large or small. There are also several different types of colon polyps. Among the most common are:

Adenomas — These polyps have the potential to become cancerous and are usually removed during screening tests such as flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy.

Hyperplastic polyps— These polyps are rarely, if ever, a risk factor for colorectal cancer.

Inflammatory polyps — These polyps may follow a bout of ulcerative colitis. Some inflammatory polyps may become cancerous, so having ulcerative colitis increases the overall risk of colon cancer.

Colon Cancer Age and other Risk Factors

Colon and rectal cancers can occur at any age, and no one is too young to develop colorectal cancer. However, about 90 percent of people with the disease are older than 50 as previously stated. Factors other than age that can increase the risk include:

Inflammatory intestinal conditions — Long-standing inflammatory diseases of the colon, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, can increase the risk.

Family history — Statistics show that colon cancer or colorectal cancer is more like likely to develop if there is a parent, sibling or child with the disease. If many family members have colon cancer or rectal cancer, the risk is even greater. In some cases, this connection may not be hereditary or genetic. Instead, cancers within the same family may result from shared exposure to an environmental carcinogen or from diet or lifestyle factors.

Familial adenomatous polyposis — (FAP) is a rare hereditary disorder that causes hundreds of polyps to develop in the lining of the colon and rectum. If these go untreated, it is possible to develop colon cancer by age 40. In most cases, genetic testing can help determine who is at risk of FAP. FAP may also cause noncancerous tumors to develop in other parts of the body, including the skin (sebaceous cysts and lipomas), bone (osteomas) and abdomen (desmoid tumors).

Hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer — (HNPCC) is another hereditary disorder that can  put someone at high risk of developing colon cancer or rectal cancer at an early age. Unlike FAP, however, there may be relatively few polyps.

People of Jewish and of Eastern European decent, may have an inherited tendency to develop colon cancer or rectal cancer. This is particularly true of Ashkenazi Jews.

Diet – Colon cancer and rectal cancer may be associated with a diet low in fiber and high in fat and calories. Research is still occurring in this area. However, high-fiber, low-fat diets have additional health benefits apart from a potential connection to colorectal cancer prevention.

A sedentary lifestyle – Inactivity can be another cause to develop colon cancer. This may be because when someone is inactive, waste stays in your colon longer. Getting regular physical activity may reduce risk.

Diabetes – People with diabetes have up to a 40 percent increased risk of developing colorectal cancer.

Smoking – More than one in 10 fatal colon cancers may be caused by smoking. Once diagnosed with colon cancer, smokers face a 30 percent to 40 percent increased risk of dying of the disease.

Alcohol – Heavy use of alcohol may increase the odds of colon cancer.

A personal history of colorectal cancer or polyps – Someone who has already had colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps, may have a greater risk of colorectal cancer in the future.

Colon Cancer Treatment Therapy

Conventional treatments may include surgery, chemotherapy and or radiation. Overall success rates for chemo and radiation are less than 6% and 13%, respectively. Presuming after reviewing the options and one has decided against chemotherapy, radiation treatments and surgery following a diagnosis of cancer, the following may be of tremendous value:

Based on the work of Dr. Otto Warburg, Dr. Brewer developed a protocol to therapeutically raise pH with the element “cesium” in conjunction with potassium. Cesium carbonate has one of the highest pH levels in all the elements. Cesium Chloride and Cesium Carbonate work by raising the cancer cell’s pH to a highly alkaline state.  Although many anti-cancer diets also produce an alkaline state, they simply cannot do so as quickly or as fully as Cesium can.  Additional research by Keith Brewer, PhD has shown that cancer cannot exist when thebody’s pH is raised to 8.0.  Partnering with a health practitioner of your choice will help you in making the best choices in your own healthcare management.

Colon Cancer Treatment Prevention

Prevention is key. The following suggestions may help save a life:

Stop eating grain fed, hormone injected meats, pasteurized dairy products and packaged, processed foods because they are acid-forming and rob the body of protein-digesting enzymes needed for destroying cancer cells.

Stop eating simple carbohydrates like white rice, pasta, white flour, refined white sugar-and artificial sweeteners. These are the foods that lower body pH, deprive the cells of oxygen and feed cancer.

Start eating enzyme-rich raw fruits and vegetables, drink plenty of raw (chlorophyll-containing) juice from deep-green leafy vegetables and complex (nitriloside-containing) carbohydrates such as beans, lentils, squashes, sweet potatoes and avocados. Raw cauliflower and broccoli also have properties that make cancer cells unhappy. Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants, which may protect from cancer. Try to eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables every day, and to include a variety of produce in the diet. Also incorporate raw nuts and seeds into the diet. Fish, either broiled, baked or steamed is an excellent choice, as well as grass fed meats and poultry.

Stay away from hydrogentated fats and oils but do use cold pressed, organic essential oils such as flax, safflower or sunflower. These oils which are rich in both omega-6 and omega-3 are called essential because the body does not produce them and yet they are necessary for proper body functions.

Avoid commonly-consumed acid-forming fried foods, sugary beverages, processed packaged foods, sugar, coffee, alcohol and artificial sweeteners. Environmental exposure to solvents, herbicides, pesticides and other chemical toxins can also boost our tendency to become acidic.

Avoid tobacco in all forms. Tobacco and smoking can increase the risk of colorectal and other cancers.

Stay physically active and maintain a healthy body weight. Controlling weight alone can reduce the risk of colon cancer. And staying physically active may reduce colon cancer risk by half. Exercise stimulates movement through the bowel and reduces the time the colon is exposed to harmful substances (carcinogens) that may cause cancer. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days. If you’ve been inactive, start slowly and build up gradually to 30 minutes. Also, talk to a healthcare professional before starting any exercise program.

Supplements are important to build your immune system

More Info: Important Colonoscopy FAQ’s

Depending on the risk factors present, colon screening should be on a regular basis.

  • High risk patients such as those with a family history of colon cancer, diseases that increase the risk of colon cancer such as ulcerative colitis, or with compromised immune systems such as HIV should have a yearly fecal occult blood screening and sigmoidoscope and a colonoscopy every 5 to 10 years. At age 50 or 10 years after a diagnosis of high risk diseases such as ulcerative colitis or colon cancer in another family member, a colonoscopy should be done every 1 to 2 years.
  • If there are any signs or symptoms such as rectal bleeding, a screening should be done immediately and then every 6 months to a year until the problem is resolved.
  • In healthy people without risks, disease, or symptoms, a yearly fecal occult blood test, a sigmoidoscope every 5 years, and a colonoscopy every 10 years starting at age 50 is recommended.

Are other screening tests available?

If you are unable to have a colonoscopy, your doctor can give you information about the following tests and how often they should be performed:

  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy
  • Double contrast barium enema
  • Virtual colonoscopy (CT colonoscopy)
  • Fecal occult blood test
  • Stool DNA tests

What are the risk factors for colorectal cancer?

A risk factor is anything that raises your chances of developing cancer. The following are some of the known risk factors for colorectal cancer. Talk with your doctor about your personal risk and how often you should be screened:

Age Colorectal cancer is more common in people over the age of 50.

Personal and Family history. People who have a parent, sibling or child with colorectal cancer are at a higher risk of developing it themselves, especially if the family member was diagnosed before the age of 60. People who have had colorectal cancer are at higher risk of another colorectal cancer.

Race African-American men and women are at higher risk. The reasons for this are not fully understood.

Ethnicity Jews of eastern European descent. About 6% of American Jews who are of eastern European descent have DNA changes that increase their risk of colorectal cancer.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD, which includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, puts you at a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer.

Lifestyle Being overweight, having an inactive lifestyle, a diet high in red meat and processed meat, smoking, and heavy alcohol use can increase your risk of colorectal cancer. Eat more organic foods like Fruits, Vegetables, Nuts and Seeds and drink alkaline water. Your body needs MORE fibre!

OK, now for a little light humor…….

Here is hilarious column written by Dave Barry who tells us about his personal experience with his colonoscopy adventure. Dave is a Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist for the Miami Herald…..

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Dave Barry’s Colonoscopy Journal:

 I called my friend Andy Sable, a gastroenterologist, to make an appointment for a colonoscopy.

A few days later, in his office, Andy showed me a color diagram of the colon, a lengthy organ that appears to go all over the place, at one point passing briefly through Minneapolis.

Then Andy explained the colonoscopy procedure to me in a thorough, reassuring and patient manner.

I nodded thoughtfully, but I didn’t really hear anything he said, because my brain was shrieking, ‘HE’S GOING TO STICK A TUBE 17,000 FEET UP YOUR BEHIND!’

I left Andy’s office with some written instructions, and a prescription for a product called ‘MoviPrep,’ which comes in a box large enough to hold a microwave oven.  I will discuss MoviPrep in detail later; for now suffice it to say that we must never allow it to fall into the hands of America‘s enemies.

I spent the next several days productively sitting around being nervous.

Then, on the day before my colonoscopy, I began my preparation.  In accordance with my instructions, I didn’t eat any solid food that day; all I had was chicken broth, which is basically water, only with less flavor.

Then, in the evening, I took the MoviPrep. You mix two packets of powder together in a one-liter plastic jug, then you fill it with lukewarm water. (For those unfamiliar with the metric system, a liter is about 32 gallons). Then you have to drink the whole jug.  This takes about an hour, because MoviPrep tastes – and here I am being kind – like a mixture of goat spit and urinal cleanser, with just a hint of lemon.

The instructions for MoviPrep, clearly written by somebody with a great sense of humor, state that after you drink it, ‘a loose, watery bowel movement may result.’

This is kind of like saying that after you jump off your roof, you may experience contact with the ground.

MoviPrep is a nuclear laxative. I don’t want to be too graphic, here, but, have you ever seen a space-shuttle launch?  This is pretty much the MoviPrep experience, with you as the shuttle. There are times when you wish the commode had a seat belt.  You spend several hours pretty much confined to the bathroom, spurting violently.  You eliminate everything.  And then, when you figure you must be totally empty, you have to drink another liter of MoviPrep, at which point, as far as I can tell, your bowels travel into the future and start eliminating food that you have not even eaten yet. After an action-packed evening, I finally got to sleep.

The next morning my wife drove me to the clinic. I was very nervous.  Not only was I worried about the procedure, but I had been experiencing occasional return bouts of MoviPrep spurtage.  I was thinking, ‘What if I spurt on Andy?’  How do you apologize to a friend for something like that? Flowers would not be enough.

At the clinic I had to sign many forms acknowledging that I understood and totally agreed with whatever the heck the forms said. Then they led me to a room full of other colonoscopy people, where I went inside a little curtained space and took off my clothes and put on one of those hospital garments designed by sadist perverts, the kind that, when you put it on, makes you feel even more naked than when you are actually naked.

Then a nurse named Eddie put a little needle in a vein in my left hand. Ordinarily I would have fainted, but Eddie was very good, and I was already lying down.  Eddie also told me that some people put vodka in their MoviPrep.  At first I was ticked off that I hadn’t thought of this, but then I pondered what would happen if you got yourself too tipsy to make it to the bathroom, so you were staggering around in full Fire Hose Mode.  You would have no choice but to burn your house.

When everything was ready, Eddie wheeled me into the procedure room, where Andy was waiting with a nurse and an anesthesiologist.  I did not see the 17,000-foot tube, but I knew Andy had it hidden around there somewhere.  I was seriously nervous at this point.

Andy had me roll over on my left side, and the anesthesiologist began hooking something up to the needle in my hand.

There was music playing in the room, and I realized that the song was ‘Dancing Queen’ by ABBA.  I remarked to Andy that, of all the songs that could be playing during this particular procedure, ‘Dancing Queen’ had to be the least appropriate.

‘You want me to turn it up?’ said Andy, from somewhere behind me.

‘Ha ha,’ I said.  And then it was time, the moment I had been dreading for more than a decade.  If you are squeamish, prepare yourself, because I am going to tell you, in explicit detail, exactly what it was like.

I have no idea. Really. I slept through it. One moment, ABBA was yelling ‘Dancing Queen, feel the beat of the tambourine,’ and the next moment, I was back in the other room, waking up in a very mellow mood.

Andy was looking down at me and asking me how I felt.  I felt excellent.  I felt even more excellent when Andy told me that It was all over, and that my colon had passed with flying colors. I have never been prouder of an internal organ.

On the subject of Colonoscopies…

Colonoscopies are no joke, but these comments during the exam were quite humorous….. A physician claimed that the following are actual comments made by his patients (predominately male) while he was performing their colonoscopies:

1. ‘Take it easy, Doc. You’re boldly going where no man has gone before!’

2. ‘Find Amelia Earhart yet?’

3. ‘Can you hear me NOW?’

4. ‘Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?’

5. ‘You know, in Arkansas , we’re now legally married.’

6. ‘Any sign of the trapped miners, Chief?’

7. ‘You put your left hand in, you take your left hand out…’

8. ‘Hey! Now I know how a Muppet feels!’

9. ‘If your hand doesn’t fit, you must quit!’

10. ‘Hey Doc, let me know if you find my dignity.’

11. ‘You used to be an executive at Enron, didn’t you?’

12. ‘God, now I know why I am not gay.’

And the best one of all:

13. ‘Could you write a note for my wife saying that my head is not up there?’

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Happy Health!

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