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NSAIDs Linked to Long-Term Colon Cancer Risk Reduction

NAIDS 2Regularly taking low-dose aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may lower long-term risk of colorectal cancer (CRC), new research suggests. The study was published online August 25 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

John Baron, MD, a professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, and colleagues reviewed data from several Danish cancer databases to gather the health histories of 10,280 CRC patients diagnosed between 1994–2011. Patients were between the ages of 30–85. Medical records were evaluated for aspirin and non-aspirin NSAID consumption patterns.

A comparison of cancer patients with 102,800 cancer-free individuals revealed that regular, long-term use of low-NAIDSdose aspirin and NSAIDs seemed to confer long-term protection against CRC. The biggest benefit was linked to agents with high cyclooxygenase-2 selectivity. Taking low-dose (75–150mg) aspirin for five years or more was associated with a 27% risk reduction in both men and women. And taking NSAIDs such as ibuprofen for that long was linked to a 30–45% drop in CRC risk.

Baron emphasized that the drugs were taken continuously for years before any cancer-preventive benefits were realized. “For aspirin, you would have to take it fairly consistently, meaning at least every other day, for at least five to 10 years for the protective effect to even begin to appear,” he told HealthDay.

Source: MPR

The Center’s Executive Physical includes Colon and Rectal Cancer screening and tumor marker tracking.


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Many Adults in the U.S. are not getting the Recommended Screening Tests for Colorectal, Breast and Cervical Cancers

mammogramFor 2013, screening for these types of cancers either fell behind previous rates or showed no improvement.

Among adults in the age groups recommended for screening, about 1 in 5 women reported not being up-to-date with cervical cancer screening, about 1 in 4 women reported not being up-to-date with breast cancerpap smear screening, and about 2 in 5 adults reported not being up-to-date with colorectal cancer screening.

The report found that colorectal cancer testing was essentially unchanged in 2013 compared with 2010. Pap test use in women age 21-65 years was lower than 2000, and the number of mammography screenings was stagnant, showing very little change from previous years.

colon cancerResearchers reviewed data from the National Health Interview Survey 2013, which is used to monitor progress toward Healthy People 2020 goals for cancer screening based on the most recent U.S. Preventive Services Task Force guidelines.

The screening data for 2013 show that 58.2 percent of adults age 50-75 years reported being screened for colorectal cancer; 72.6 percent of women age 50-74 had a mammogram; and 80.7 percent of women age 21-65 had a Pap test. All of these percentages are below the Healthy People 2020 targets.

Source: CDC

The Presidential Healthcare Center’s Executive Physicals include cancer screening and tumor marker tracking.


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10 Ways to Help Reduce Your Risk of Colon Cancer

Colon 33March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month: a perfect time to direct attention to the tail end of your digestive tract. Contrary to what many believe, the colon isn’t an inert hollow tube that simply serves as a reservoir for waste until you can find a toilet. Rather, it’s a complex organ that performs the essential function of facilitating balance of fluid and electrolytes in the body in addition to its role in storing and eliminating waste. Equally important – if not moreso – the colon hosts a crucial ecosystem of bacteria that plays a vital role in health. Unfortunately, many of us fail to appreciate just how central the colon is to our health and survival until something goes wrong.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., claiming the lives of more than 50,000 Americans annually. The vast majority of cases occur in people over age 50, and African Americans have the highest rates of colon cancer incidence among all racial groups. Colon 11

As scary as these stats may sound, a large percentage of cases are preventable. Here are 10 lifestyle changes that may be of benefit in colorectal cancer risk reduction:

  1. Reduce your alcohol intake. When it comes to cancer prevention, less (alcohol) is more. Alcohol use is a known risk factor for colorectal cancer – among other cancers – with risk increasing as alcohol intake increases. If you choose to drink, try limiting your intake to no more than one drink daily.
  2. Quit smoking. Smoking is not just a risk factor for lung cancer, but for all digestive system cancers, including colorectal, stomach and esophageal. Make the decision to quit this month, once and for all.
  3. Get moving! Sedentary lifestyles are associated with an increased risk of digestive system cancers. Evidence supporting a significant protective effect of physical activity on colorectal cancer risk is particularly strong. The body of available research suggests that the most active adults have a 40 to 50 percent  reduced risk of developing colon cancer, compared to the least active adults. Importantly, the protective effect of exercise appears to be independent of weight status, meaning that regular physical activity appears to reduce risk of colon cancer even in people who are overweight or obese. So if regular exercise hasn’t yielded the weight loss you’ve hoped for, don’t be discouraged: There are substantial health benefits to physical activity that may not show up on the scale. Colon 22
  4. Get serious about weight loss. Obesity is a strong risk factor for colorectal cancer, and researchers estimate that risk increases about 15 percent with each five additional points of body mass index beyond the upper end of normal range. So, for example, weight loss that results in a reduction of BMI from 35 to 30 would be expected to result in about a 15 percent risk reduction.
  5. Eat less red meat. There is strong evidence supporting high intake of red meat as a risk factor for colorectal cancer. One large study that examined the diets of adults aged 50 to 71 showed that people with the highest intakes of red meat – an average of 5 ounces per day – had a 24 percent greater risk of developing colorectal cancer compared to those with the lowest intake – an average of about half an ounce per day. It has been proposed that multiple mechanisms may be at play, including the type of iron found in red meat (heme iron) and increased exposure to carcinogens called HCAs that are produced when red meat in particular is charred or cooked at a high temperature. If you can’t imagine life without red meat, try thinking of red meat as a garnish to veggie-heavy meals such as stir fries or salads, rather than a center-of-the-plate affair. And consider lower-temperature cooking methods such as braising, boiling or even sautéing instead of broiling or grilling.Colon 66
  6. Avoid foods preserved with sodium nitrite. As you go about reducing your meat intake, start with “pink” processed meats like bacon, salami and hot dogs. These foods – as well as other processed lunchmeats – are commonly preserved with sodium nitrite. When sodium nitrite encounters stomach acid during digestion, it may convert to a compound called a nitrosamine, which is a known carcinogen. Indeed, both high intake of nitrites and processed meats have been associated with increased risk of colorectal cancer compared to lower intakes. If you choose to consume processed meats, look for nitrite-free products, such as those marketed by the Applegate Farms brand.

 

Read more here: U.S News & World Report


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How Vitamin D May Fight Colon Cancer

colon cancerHigher levels of vitamin D have been associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer in many observational studies. A new analysis has found a possible reason.

A malignant tumor contains not just cancer cells but many types of cells, some of which affect how fast a tumor may grow or spread. Among them are a group of immune system cells called T lymphocytes, or T cells, that can target tumor cells and limit their growth. Having a tumor with more T cells correlates with a better prognosis.

The study, published in the journal Gut, included 318 people who had developed colorectal cancer and 624 matched controls. All had vitamin D levels measured before the appearance of any cancers.Colon 1

The higher the blood levels of vitamin D, the less likely people were to develop colorectal tumors. Vitamin D, the authors suggest, interacts with the immune system to prevent the growth of this type of malignancy.

“This study really shows that vitamin D has an effect on immunity,” said the senior author, Dr. Shuji Ogino, an associate professor of pathology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, “and it’s the first study to show that in a human population. Vitamin D boosts immunity not just in cancer, but in fighting infections as well.”

Source: New York Times


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Increasing Disparities in the Age-Related Incidences of Colon and Rectal Cancers in the United States, 1975-2010

Colon 5Both the incidence and mortality rates of Colon and Rectal Cancers have been decreasing in the United States, a trend that is largely attributed to the widespread screening of persons 50 years and older.

However, researchers from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston have highlighted a concerning trend: incidence rates are actually rising in young adults.

The most pronounced increase, which was observed in patients between 20 and 34 years old, was in the incidence of colon and rectal cancer at all stages (localized, regional, and distant).Colon 2

Authors of a recent study analyzed Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results data for 393,241 patients with CRC between 1975 and 2010 and evaluated the age at diagnosis in 15-year intervals, beginning at age 20 years.

The overall age-adjusted incidence rates decreased by 0.92% during the study period.

Colon 4However, although there has been a steady decrease in incidence among persons 50 years and older, the opposite is true for those in younger age groups, according to the authors, led by principal investigator George J. Chang, MD, associate professor, Departments of Surgical Oncology and Health Services Research at MD Anderson.

Source: The JAMA Network

 

 

*The Center’s Executive Physical includes Colon and Rectal Cancer screening and tumor marker tracking.

 


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Colon Cancer Rates Rising in Young Adults

Colon CancerIncidences of colorectal cancer have been decreasing by about 1 percent a year since the mid 1980s, but incidences among people under 50 — the recommended screening age — has been increasing sharply, and these younger patients are more likely to present with advanced disease.

The study, published in JAMA Surgery, used a national database of 400,000 patients with colon or rectal cancer. Incidences decreased by about 1 percent a year over all but rose among people 20 to 34, with the largest increase — 1.8 percent a year — in disease that had already progressed to other organs.

Incidence rates today, per 100,000 people, are 3 for ages 20 to 34; 17 for ages 35 to 49; and 300 for people over 50. But by 2030, the researchers estimate, one in 10 colon cancers and one in four rectal cancers will be in people under 50, and rates among those over 50 will be 175 per 100,000.

The study draws no conclusions about whether screening should begin at a younger age. “There are always risks and colon cancer 4unintended consequences of screening tests,” said the senior author, Dr. George J. Chang, an associate professor of surgery and health services research at the University of Texas.

For now, he said, “We have to pay attention to symptoms with which our patients present, and work them up by including colorectal cancer as a part of the differential diagnosis.”

Source: New York Times

The Presidential Healthcare Center’s Executive Physicals include cancer screening and tumor marker tracking.


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Another reason to stop avoiding that colonoscopy

No one really expects to go to the doctor for shoulder pain and end up with a cancer diagnosis. Well, maybe those of us who are hypochondriacs would, but my husband certainly didn’t. Yet that’s exactly what happened to him.

John Anderson, my husband of 15 years, died in September 2012 after a five-month battle with colon cancer. He left behind our two children, now nearly 7 and 11, and my stepdaughter, a 33-year-old from his first marriage.

John was 59, and, no, he didn’t have a colonoscopy — until it was too late.

Image

Sometimes it’s the first question that people ask when they learn our news: “Did he ever get a colonoscopy?” or, even worse, “Didn’t he get a colonoscopy?”

Why, despite knowing the facts about colorectal cancer screening, didn’t he? That question will plague me for the rest of my life. And it tortured John from the moment he was diagnosed until the day he died.

Colon cancer is one of the cancer success stories. There are various screening methods that can identify colon or rectal changes that may lead to cancer. Tests such as sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy can find premalignant polyps. These polyps can be removed during the procedure. These tests can also find cancer in its earliest stage, when it’s most treatable.

But unfortunately, our family wasn’t part of this success story.

According to experts, those considered at average risk for colorectal cancer should begin regular screening at age 50. When John turned 50, I reminded him to get an annual physical and a colonoscopy. He got his physical but no colonoscopy. We had the same conversation maybe half a dozen times over the years. He had physicals. Each time he’d come home with a fecal occult blood test kit and a colonoscopy prescription. But he never followed through with either.

To encourage him, I would invoke our family (“Do it for the kids; they need you”), my own screening habits (“How would you feel if I didn’t get my annual mammogram?”), the data (he was a behavioral scientist, after all), the Katie Couric effect (a celebrity whom he liked and respected) and his risk factors (age, weight, diet). In the end, was my nagging just noise?

One month shy of his 59th birthday, John finally got that colonoscopy. It was after shoulder pain, initially diagnosed as a rotator cuff injury, led to side pain, which led to a sonogram, which revealed tumors on his liver. Apparently his enlarged liver or a liver tumor was pressing on his diaphragm, which was causing referred shoulder pain. Who would have thought?

John’s diagnosis: stage 4 colon cancer with inoperable liver tumors. Cancer that had started in his colon and spread to his liver. Unless John’s cancer responded to treatment, there wasn’t much hope.

At some point during his treatment — when we still had hope that the chemotherapy might work — I asked John: “Why didn’t you get a colonoscopy?” This was one of many emotional “what if” conversations that he and I had, typically late at night, when the house was quiet. Sometimes initiated by him, sometimes initiated by me, these topics were raw and gut-wrenching. Scary but difficult to ignore.

And I knew that particular question was like salt in a wound. There would be no answer that would ever heal a thing or make a difference. But still, I had to ask him. “Why didn’t you get a colonoscopy?”

He didn’t have a definitive answer. None of it really made sense, he admitted. And our hearts broke with the reality that no answer could matter, that there was no excuse. It was too late.

During the painful discussion when John’s oncologist had to tell us that nothing more could be done, John calmly said, “I should have gotten that colonoscopy.” His oncologist — very compassionately and honestly — said not to go there.

But John and I couldn’t help it: We knew the truth. Colorectal cancer screening saves lives. And it might have saved John’s.

Article via Washington Post