Approximatley one third of all diagnosed colon cancers result in death and colon cancer is the third leading type of cancer in the USA. Conventional western medicine pleads with the public to have colo-rectal exams and endoscopy starting at the age of 50 because early detection results in better surival rates.
It is my recommendation that everyone should have an edoscopy at age 50. During this exam it will be determined if you are developing a high risk for colon cancer. This will be based upon how many polyps are found and other lesions. Polyps can be a leading indicator for cancer but not all polyp types will lead to cancer. Familial polyps are the most common cause of cancer. These are polyps from an inherited tendency. You should know what your predisposiiton is and if you have a family history of polyps or colon cancer. It is unwise to avoid these recommendations, especially if there is a family history.
After the endoscopy the doctor will make recommendations for further endoscopic exams based on what he finds. If you are all clear or only a few, non familial type polyps are found then it is generally recommended that this test be repeated every five years. If many polyps are found or familial polyps or adenomas then repeat endoscopy can be recommended annually, or every two or three years based on the physicians judgement. Polyps will be removed when they are found. Familial polyps tend to reoccur in one to three years and these are the most likly to become cancerous. Clinically they are called familial or adenomatous polyps and are precancerous. Inflammatory polyps are often associated with irritable bowel syndrome or ulcerative colitis. They do not lead to cancer. Hyperplastic or juvenile polyps are also benign and do not lead to cancer but may need to be removed for acurate diagnosis.
At this time your physician can also tell you if you have other bowel conditions that might require attention like diverticuli.
Other predisposing factors to colon cancer are ulcerative colitis and crohn's disease.
Signs of colon cancer are:
blood in the stool
changes in bowel habbits
persistant pain or cramps in the abdomen
mucus in the stool
feeling that bowel evacuations are incomplete
symptoms similar to irritable bowel
alternating diarrhea and consitipaton
Risk Factors nay include:
History of colon cancer in the family
Colon cancer prevention consists of a healthy diet with lots of veggies and fruits and whole grains. Less red meat is also recommended and fats should not be over 30% of caloric intake. Constipation should always be treated. Processed foods and fried foods should be eliminated as well as unhealthy fats such as hydrogenated fats. Sedintary life style may also predispose one to bowel disease. Some studies demonstrate that supplemental vitamns and calcium may also have a protective effect. Other studies suggest that healthy gut flora may also be protective.
But the foremost key to colon cancer prevention is the timely removal of the types of polyps that are known to become cancerous. If you have such polyps there is no other way to know that you do other than though an endoscopy. And if precancerous polyps are found repeat endoscopies are required to remove them and to make sure that they have not reappeared. This is the leading prevenative techiniqe available. If you have a family history of colon cancer it is wise to address this predisposing factor at an early age. If not, age 50 is generally recommended for the first endoscopy. Other tests that are helpful are a digital exam of the rectum for lumps or tumors. Occult (hidden) blood stool tests are also informative and these tests can be done in the years between scheduled colonoscopies. But no test surpasses the endoscopy.
Selenium and curcumin and quercetin may be protective against colon cancer. Dr. Robert Rowen, in his weekly newsletter, sent out a protocol for supplementing with curcumin and quercetin to reduce and even possibly elimiate familial polyps. In a small study of 5 people who upon edoscopic exam were found to have familial adenomatous polyposis, 480mg of curcumin and 20mg of quercetin were given three times a day. In all 5 people an average of 60% of polyps were eliminated after supplementation for 6 months and the remaining polyps decreased in size by 51%. Both of these supplements are powerful anti-inflammatories.
Dr Rowen, through his clinical experience, also recommends 100,000 IU of vitamin A daily and 5mg of folic acid three times a day to keep polyps from returning.
Many studies have demonstrated that selenium has an anti cancer effect. Recommended dosages are 200mcg a day.
Selenium and Colon Cancer
Vitamin D and Folate in Colon Cancer
Folate and Adenomatous Polyps
Curcumin and Colon Cancer