Colonoscopy Prevents Colorectal Cancer



A large new public health study shows that colonoscopy remains the single most effective tool for the prevention of colorectal cancer.


 

COLONOSCOPY PREVENTS COLORECTAL CANCER

As I discuss in my book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, colorectal cancer remains the third most common type of cancer in both men and women, and the third most common cause of cancer death among both men and women.

In A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, I discuss the known lifestyle and dietary factors associated with colorectal cancer risk, as well as evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing this form of cancer.  One of the most important of these colorectal prevention strategies is screening colonoscopy.  Since the vast majority of colon and rectal cancers first begin as benign polyps, the identification and removal of these premalignant polyps (“adenomas”) can actually prevent the future development of this potentially deadly form of cancer.

Now, a new clinical research study, which appears in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, reveals just how important, and how effective, screening colonoscopy is in preventing colon and rectal cancer.

The Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study are two very large ongoing prospective public health studies.  In this case, 88,902 volunteers from these two studies were followed for an average of 22 years.  During this time, 1,815 study volunteers were diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 474 volunteers died of colorectal cancer.

Among the volunteers who underwent screening colonoscopy, there was a 43 percent reduction in the risk of developing colorectal cancer if they had undergone polyp removal during colonoscopy, compared to study volunteers who did not undergo colonoscopy.  Among the study participants who underwent colonoscopy, and who had no polyps detected, their risk of developing colorectal cancer was 56 percent lower when compared to the volunteers who did not undergo colonoscopy.  The authors of this study also noted that screening colonoscopy was associated with a 68 percent reduction in the risk of dying from colorectal cancer, based upon the results of this very large prospective public health study.

The findings of this very important public health study show that screening colonoscopy remains the single most effective method of preventing colorectal cancer, and preventing death due to colorectal cancer.  At the present time, the American Cancer Society recommends that people with an average risk of developing colorectal cancer should undergo their first colonoscopy at age 50.  If this initial screening colonoscopy is normal, then patients should undergo routine screening colonoscopy every 10 years thereafter, as long as each subsequent colonoscopy remains normal.

Although many people shy away from colonoscopy due to concerns about discomfort, or due to modesty concerns, colonoscopy remains one of the most effective cancer screening and cancer prevention tools available.  Therefore, if you are due (or overdue) for screening colonoscopy, please do not delay in having this potentially lifesaving test performed.


For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.com Top 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.


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According to recent Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty between September 2001 and December 2011 is more than 12 percent.  A new website, Veterans in Healthcare, seeks to connect veterans with potential employers.  If you are a veteran who works in the healthcare field, or if you are an employer who is looking for physicians, advanced practice professionals, nurses, corpsmen/medics, or other healthcare professionals, then please take a look at Veterans in Healthcare. As a retired veteran of the U.S. Army, I would also like to personally urge you to hire a veteran whenever possible.


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


 

I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  Over the past 12 months, more than 3.5 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious readers.  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 


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Cancer-Sniffing Dogs

Welcome to Weekly Health Update


“A critical weekly review of important new research findings for health-conscious readers”



Cancer-Sniffing Dogs

The earlier that cancer is detected, the greater the likelihood of cure. Therefore, cancer researchers are always looking for more sensitive tests that can detect cancer at the earliest possible stage. When I was a cancer research fellow working in the lab, I used an exquisitely sensitive chemical test to identify trace amounts of genetic material from otherwise invisible tumor cells floating in the blood or bone marrow of patients who had previously been diagnosed with cancer, and who were thought to have been cured of their disease. (This test, reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, or RT-PCR, works by “amplifying” trace amounts of genetic material using a powerful chemical reaction.)

There have been many novel strategies proposed to improve our ability to detect cancer at the earliest possible stages, but few have been more novel than the proposed use of domesticated animals to sniff-out chemicals secreted by cancerous tumors in humans. In an extremely novel cancer detection research study, which appears in the current issue of the journalGut, a specially trained Labrador retriever was employed to sniff the exhaled breath and stool samples of humans. In this innovative pilot study, this specially trained dog was directed to sniff the exhaled breath and stool samples from patient volunteers with colorectal cancer, and patient volunteers without colorectal cancer (all of these patient volunteers subsequently underwent colonoscopy to confirm the presence or absence of colorectal cancer). The results of this preliminary study are, quite simply, amazing.

When compared to the findings at colonoscopy, the “scent detection” dog was able to correctly identify colorectal cancer patients simply by smelling their breath in more than 90 percent of cases! Even more astonishing, this dog was able to accurately identify patients with colorectal cancer 98 percent of the time by sniffing their stool specimens!

Anyone who has undergone colonoscopy knows that the bowel-purging “prep” on the day before is quite unpleasant. (Colonoscopy, itself, can be rather unpleasant, although most patients are moderately sedated, and many patients will have no subsequent recollection of this scope procedure.) Moreover, colonoscopy is an expensive screening test for colorectal cancer, and like all invasive procedures, colonoscopy is associated with a small risk of complications, including bleeding and bowel perforation. Therefore, it is mind-boggling to me that, based upon the results of this very small clinical research study, a specially-trained dog proved to be virtually as accurate in diagnosing both early and advanced colorectal cancers as the “gold standard” colorectal cancer screening test, colonoscopy, merely by sniffing the breath and stool of human volunteers! (As an aside, it has been estimated that dogs have a sense of smell that is hundreds-of-thousand to millions of times more sensitive than humans.)

Of course, the dramatic findings of this intriguing pilot study will have to be validated by larger studies. That being said, the findings of this study are very exciting, and could revolutionize screening for colorectal cancer, and perhaps other types of cancers as well.

Once again, it appears that dogs have truly earned the title of “Man’s Best Friend!”

 

For a comprehensive guide to living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race.  For the price of a cheeseburger, fries, and a shake, you can purchase this landmark new book, in both paperback and e-book formats, and begin living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle today!

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million,Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books! On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

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I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month. (More than 1.2 million health-conscious people visited Weekly Health Update in 2010!) As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.




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