Is this something we need to do? My doctor - I have a good one I trust - suggested yes.
What are the odds of colon cancer? From the National Cancer Institute:
|All Races||55.0 per 100,000 men||41.0 per 100,000 women|
|White||54.4 per 100,000 men||40.2 per 100,000 women|
|Black||67.7 per 100,000 men||51.2 per 100,000 women|
|Asian/Pacific Islander||45.4 per 100,000 men||34.6 per 100,000 women|
|American Indian/Alaska Native a||42.7 per 100,000 men||40.0 per 100,000 women|
|Hispanic b||39.9 per 100,000 men||28.4 per 100,000 women|
That's five white males out of 10,000; 1/2 a person out of 1000; 1/20 a person out of 100. I'm not even sure how to write the percentage. .005%? That seems like a pretty low risk. But further down on that page it says:
Based on rates from 2005-2007, 5.12% of men and women born today will be diagnosed with cancer of the colon and rectum at some time during their lifetime. This number can also be expressed as 1 in 20 men and women will be diagnosed with cancer of the colon and rectum during their lifetime. These statistics are called the lifetime riskX CloseThat looks riskier, but still. . . the only risk factor I have for colorectal cancer is age.
The probability of developing cancer in the course of one's lifespan. Lifetime risk may also be discussed in terms of the probability of developing or of dying from cancer. Based on cancer rates from 2005 to 2007, it was estimated that men had about a 44 percent chance of developing cancer in their lifetimes, while women had about a 38 percent chance. of developing cancer. Sometimes it is more useful to look at the probability of developingX Close
The chance that a person will develop cancer in his/her lifetime. cancer of the colon and rectum between two age groups. For example, 2.04% of men will develop cancer of the colon and rectum between their 50th and 70th birthdays compared to 1.53% for women.
So what is colon cancer? Here's an explanation from the Mayo Clinic website:
Colon cancer is cancer of the large intestine (colon), the lower part of your digestive system. Rectal cancer is cancer of the last several inches of the colon. Together, they're often referred to as colorectal cancers.
Most cases of colon cancer begin as small, noncancerous (benign) clumps of cells called adenomatous polyps. Over time some of these polyps become colon cancers.
Polyps may be small and produce few, if any, symptoms. For this reason, doctors recommend regular screening tests to help prevent colon cancer by identifying polyps before they become colon cancer.
|Poster in Dr's Office - Click to Enlarge|
The Mayo Clinic site explains colonoscopy this way:
Colonoscopy uses a long, flexible and slender tube attached to a video camera and monitor to view your entire colon and rectum. If any suspicious areas are found, your doctor can pass surgical tools through the tube to take tissue samples (biopsies) for analysis.
I'm guessing this is one of those examples of how health care coverage skews how health care money is spent. The money spent on people over 50 with insurance for colonoscopies, would have a much bigger positive impact on American health if it were spent on preventive care for pregnant women and children without health coverage.
So, in preparation for Monday, I've had to be on liquid diet Saturday, today, and Monday. The instructions say:
Stay on a FULL LIQUID DIET the entire TWO days (anything that is liquid or melts into a liquid; no solids). Acceptable items include cream of wheat (not oatmeal), Jell-O, puddings, ice cream, yogurt (the type without the fruit), Ensure, chicken broth and tomato soup (no crackers), etc.The Drugs Part 1
Then Sunday night I start taking the purging medicine and move to clear liquids only.
Naturopaths tell us that cleansing the bowels is a good thing.
In fact, nothing has changed since the great natural healer Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, founder of the Battle Creek Sanitarium in Michigan, declared nearly a century ago that “90% of the diseases of civilization are due to improper functioning of the colon.” (from curezone)WebMD says cleansing routines are worthless:
But the science behind the detox theory is deeply flawed, says Peter Pressman, MD, an internal medicine specialist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. The body already has multiple systems in place -- including the liver, kidneys, and gastrointestinal tract -- that do a perfectly good job of eliminating toxins from the body within hours of consumption.
"There's no evidence at all that any of these approaches augment the body's own mechanisms," Pressman tells WebMD.
So I figured this was a chance for a lot of smoothies this weekend. Except when I got the ingredients into the blender, it made a lot of noise, but the blades didn't go around.
If I screwed it on loosely, the blades went round, but it also leaked all over. We ended up buying another Osterizer - $29 didn't seem too bad.
When we got it home, I saw the rubber seal was thicker than the old one. Even though ours is at least 20 years old, the seal from the new one fit nicely on the old one. And when I turned on the blender, it worked fine. Who would have thought such a tiny difference in thickness would shut down the machine?
|New one on the right|
I also took shameless advantage of the situation to buy some things I'm allowed to consume this weekend.
So, there's lots of drinking going on. Made some mushroom soup last night and more smoothies this morning.
The Drugs Part 2
And tomorrow there will an anesthetic that leads to these instructions:
Make arrangements for a ride home and a caregiver following the procedure, you should not drive for 12 hours after the exam as you will have been given an IV medication during the procedure that will reduce your reaction time.I do remember the last time. The time allotted for the procedure is an hour. I remember it seemed like it was over in 5 minutes. So the drugs do work in interesting ways. But we live a five minute walk from the office. The person at the desk said they would not let me walk home. I know, I'm being a guy about this. We'll see how I feel. J will be there. With a car.
And they didn't think I should go to the book club meeting tomorrow night. I understand that the medication is powerful, but it works differently on different people. But I won't drive - I would ride my bike normally anyway. We'll see how I feel. J has volunteered to take me to the meeting and pick me up. They say that people have reported going out for dinner after the procedure and not remembering anything. I'll take notes as I do things. We'll see.
The National Cancer Institute says:
On January 1, 2008, in the United States there were approximately 1,110,077 men and women alive who had a history of cancer of the colon and rectum -- 542,127 men and 567,950 women. This includes any person alive on January 1, 2008 who had been diagnosed with cancer of the colon and rectum at any point prior to January 1, 2008 and includes persons with active disease and those who are cured of their disease.Most people with colon or rectal cancer are over 50. (In 2000 there were about 77 million people over 50 in the US.) The doctor said the rates of colorectal cancer have dropped significantly, mainly because it is one of the few cancers where they can take easy preventative measures before cancer forms - by cutting out the polyps before they become cancerous.
I have no idea how much this procedure costs. Most of it will be covered by insurances. But I still think the money would be better spent on pregnant women and children health care and health education.
Trivia note: I think this is the second time I've had a post with 'colon' in the title, and the first one was only two weeks ago.