Thursday, July 02, 2009

For Men (& the Women Who Love Them)…Please Reduce Your Colorectal Cancer Risk

Three months ago Newswise communicated the findings of a simple UK study reported in The European Journal of Cancer Prevention, published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health, a leading provider of information and business intelligence for students, professionals, and institutions in medicine, nursing, allied health, pharmacy and the pharmaceutical industry. Here’s the bottom line:

The study led by Professor. Donald Maxwell Parkin of Cancer Research UK Centre for Epidemiology, Mathematics, and Statistics, London, identified five lifestyle factors that researchers believe would reduce colorectal cancer in UK men substantially (26% overall including 31.5% in men and 18.4% in women) over the next two decades plus. Here are the lifestyle changes that make the difference as reported by Newswise:

• Consumption of red and processed meat - no more than 80 or 90 grams per day.
• Consumption of fruit, vegetables, and fiber - at least five portions per day.
• Exercise - at least 30 minutes on 5 or more days per week.
• Alcohol consumption - no more than 21 units per week for men, 15 units for women.
• Overweight and obesity - reduced to rates of 20 years ago.

The greatest reductions would be in those age 50 or older. However, the proportional reduction in risk would be larger at younger ages.

Colorectal cancer is a major problem in not only the UK, but also in Canada and the United States. I know, I had it and maybe still do. When first discovered, the doctors wanted to surgically remove a good portion of my colon and reconnect me – assuming they could do it successfully, but without any guarantees. When they said this was to prevent future recurrence, I opted to go for the drastic life-changes above. Two of my three specialists were skeptical that would make any difference. It did. Six months later during my second colonoscopy, they only found a normal polyp and removed that easily. Next month I go in for my regular six-month colonoscopy (I guess if they can’t operate, they’ll see to it that they keep me visiting twice a year which is better than an operation as far as I’m concerned.)

For me, it was a matter of faith – they told me they thought I was 95% cured when they removed the cancerous polyp. I told them 5% probability of not being cured is not sufficient reason to cut me up. They reluctantly agreed when I told them that they themselves learned that ‘just noticeable difference’ in statistics was about 15% and that I believed my faith in God covers me 100%, not just 95%.

For you, your reasons may be different as to why you should try to reduce your risk of cancer. But whatever they are, just do it. Sure, I miss the steak and the pork chops and the hamburgers – but there are great alternatives out there and I still enjoy my fish, especially small ones. Life could be a lot worse.

By the way, there’s a new video on YouTube that is getting a lot of attention – it’s about Ted Blair and his cancer experience. Well worth it if you have cancer or if someone you love has it. You can catch it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQqPNl87RIM .

Anyway, that’s how this presentologist sees it. In the meantime, keep on ortho-thinking and don’t forget to follow me on www.twitter.com/pappou .

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