Colonoscopies or Home test Kits or both?
There is an old saying: "If you go looking for trouble you're bound to find it". The same goes for sickness. Thanks to the screening mania, tens of millions of Americans who have no business taking prescription drugs are popping pills. Others are undergoing further testing and even enduring unnecessary surgeries.
This feature is not going into the multitude of screening processes, it is going to be keyed into the colon testing procedures, including home procedures.
There are 4 screening processes that we know of regarding the colon and the deadly consequences of colon cancer. Make no mistake about it colon cancer is one of the deadliest cancers, right up there with breast and prostate.
Before we get into these processes let us issue you a warning. My wife recently had a colonoscopy. A bleeding hemorrhoid prompted her to see the Doctor.
We bring out the fact that the colonoscopy process and especially leading up to it is an ordeal. There is a necessary cleaning out process and as my wife said "It was a trip". After her test and coming out clean as a hounds tooth, no polyps, cancer, no nothing thank God, she decided to contact her friends with the good news, but was very emphatic about the ordeal she went through. In fact it got the point when I asked her "What if you discourage some one from taking a colonoscopy and a couple of years later they die of colon cancer"? This kind of changed our tune and resulted in this feature.
If you have been to the Doctor lately they may be encouraging you to get a colonoscopy, although we have read only about 50% of Doctors are doing so. With Obamacare kicking in or kicking out, my guess is that Doctors are being pressured to encourage colonoscopies. Anyone that tells you this process especially leading up to the actual test is a walk in the park is not being straight with you. We are not going to go into detail, but the "clean out" process a couple of days in advance is a trip, like multiple trips to the John. It is unclear at this time whether the increased accuracy of colonoscopy ...offsets the procedures, additional complications, inconvenience and costs.
Now there is a reservation and that is clinical signs of a problem and we might include the individuals lifestyle in particular their diet, fiber intake, anti-oxidants etc. covered at the end of this feature that could determine your test path.
The first sign of blood even if it turns out to be a hemorrhoid issue is usually a good justification for a colonoscopy, as there are some that believe that a hemorrhoid issue could indicate the patients propensity for polyps in the intestinal tract. It certainly gives your Doctor a good enough reason to insist on a colonoscopy and quite frankly we wouldn't argue with him/her, even though a routine doctors examination can easily detect hemorrhoids. We have recently found that even with a good fiber diet along with the absence of straining, that hemorrhoids can appear.
It's important to note that virtual colonoscopies (CT Scans) are less effective at spotlighting smaller growths: New studies indicates they picked up 87 percent of polyps 8 millimeters or over, 84 percent of those 7 millimeters or larger, and 78 percent of polyps at least 6 millimeters in size.
There's considerable debate in the medical community over the cancer threat posed by these smaller growths, compared with large polyps. "It's a grey area," said Dr. David Lichtenstein, director of endoscopy at Boston Medical Center.
CT Scans that have become popular have brought up the question of excess radiation and one of the reasons we recently turned down CT heart scans. We decided to just increase our heart healthy diligence, fish oil, nuts, seed, Mediterranean diet etc.
As for flat polyps, they're probably less likely to be highlighted by virtual colonoscopies but the evidence isn't fully in on that yet. Standard colonoscopies also miss many flat polyps. Flat polyps by the way are 5 times more apt to become cancerous than the typical raised polyps. They have developed techniques to remove flat polyps or even recessed polyps, but this is where the threat of breaching the intestinal wall can take place.
No one expects the newer technology to replace the older test, which is still considered the gold standard for colon cancer screening.
It's not clear that virtual colonoscopies are actually the more comfortable alternative. Most patients who get traditional colonoscopies receive sedatives and don't remember details of the procedure. Patients who get the non-invasive version don't get the medications, and they'll feel a swelling and potential cramping in their abdomen when gas is pumped in the colon just before the scan is taken, physicians report.
The bad news is, if a large polyp is detected on a virtual colonoscopy, a patient will have to have a standard procedure to allow doctors to go in and remove the growth. That can be done the same day, if preparations are made in advance, but it could involve scheduling another procedure on a different day and undergoing the grueling, bowel-draining preparation that patients dread yet again.
Fecal Occult Blood Tests
Below are the two home tests that we are acquainted with.
Fecal Occult Smear Test
This is the conventional colon home smear test. It is not the most pleasant test and quite frankly I believe it turns people off from doing anything at all. We believe we do not have to go into detail as the "smear" test adequately describes the process. It has to be taken to the Doctor for either a negative or positive results and we have read statistics that this test lowers the patients chances of dying from colon cancer by 15% to 30% and that false positives are very common with this test. Not very assuring odds. The last one I took to a Doctor it got lost in the shuffle and I actually believe the staff was not that keen on handling these specimens. They never found it. We fired that Doctor and his staff.
EZ Detect test
Manufactured by Biomerica, Inc., EZ Detect™ is the only FDA cleared FOBT with all these features: no handling of stool, no dietary restrictions, and no laboratory processing. A user merely tosses a chemically treated tissue paper into a toilet bowl after a bowel movement and looks for a change in color. It produces accurate results at home in just 2 minutes.
EZ Detect™ is the most advanced (At the date of this writing) home test available to check for hidden blood in stool and is just as accurate at detecting blood as the more common yet unpleasant FOBT. Also, since it has no dietary restrictions it has fewer false-positive results than the other test.
After study by their scientists and lab, EZ Detect™ was the only FOBT recommended by Good Housekeeping Institute Report November 1999 in their list of home health tests.
If the test is obtained from your physician, EZ Detect™ is covered by most health plans under CPT code 82270 and under Medicare code G0107.
We recently purchased a 4 package from Test Country 1-800-656-0745 The price was $6.95 each. You can pay more, so shop a little. Test Country had a bulk rate of about 5 bucks each. For a few bucks you could save someone's life. I am talking about the guy like me that won't consider the colonoscopy, but let me tell you if my test ever shows positive with the EZ Detect, I will rush for a colonoscopy.
A promising long-term study of 46,000 people, released in March 1999 by The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, proved that using a FOBT every year could prevent up to 33,000 colon cancer deaths nationwide by catching and treating the disease in its early stages. The findings prompted government health officials to announce a new campaign to encourage all Americans over 50 to annually use a FOBT and led to the U.S. Senate declaring March 2000 the first "National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month".
Lets look at the potential consequences of doing this test versus going for a colonoscopy. There is no question that a colonoscopy would be the best early warning test for colon problems, we would be fools to argue this and patients would be fools to avoid colonoscopies, but that doesn't mean patients are going to line up for them.
We have no data supporting our theory, but again we believe if patients are given the option to use an effective test kit as in the Center for disease and prevention piece above to determine whether there is the tell tale fact that there is blood in the stool, that this practice will lead to more colonoscopies than if the only option was the Doctor banging the patients head against the wall pushing a colonoscopy. So it isn't a question of getting the horse to water it is a question of how do you get the horse to water and making him drink.
The most important question is, if patients were encouraged or given an option to do the EZ Detect test or colonoscopy and decided to do the line of least resistance EZ Detect test and there were positive results, positive being blood in the stool, how many would then consent to a colonoscopy? My guess is anyone showing positive on the EZ Detect test would overwhelmingly consent to a colonoscopy and in the process save many more lives overall than those who resist a colonoscopy, walk away doing nothing and fall victim to the consequences.
Incidentally as an experiment I deliberately had a rare steak two days before my recent home test. The test kit tells you that you do not have to make dietary changes such as eliminating meat from your diet before a test. My test again was negative, no signs of blood from any source in the test.
My advice to Doctors would be when they encounter a resistant patient to a colonoscopy, lets say after a year or two badgering them to no avail, my suggestion would be to have EZ Detect kits on hand and send them home with one. You can bet the majority will take the test and if they test positive my guess is the majority will return for the colonoscopy that they wouldn't take for love nor money without the positive FOBT.
Search the Net
There have been a number of Home testing kits for the Colon placed on the market since we created this feature. We notice that the EZ Detect kit is still one of the prominent products on the market at this time. We would suggest a simple search will surface the many products new and old that are available.
Colorectal cancer often develops without any obvious symptoms. When symptoms do occur, the cancer already may be in an advanced stage.
What can I do to prevent Colorectal Cancer?
We believe that the first thing you can do is one the most important health practices we have ever discovered and that is chewing your food adequately and you can access a full feature on the benefits in chewing your food adequately and not only for losing weight and general health, but for colon health as well. Link to the feature is http://www.blueeyedcurse.com/Chew@Lose.htm
Below is link to a feature on making vegetable smoothies with a good concentration of raw vegetables, although with the incorporation of an apple, yogurt, berries and other fruits along with a packet of Stevia, you can make the drink very pleasant. My wife and I look forward to our smoothie every afternoon that replaced the snack we used to have.
I believe that a smoothie everyday will eliminate most colon problems, if you combine it with other sensible lifestyle practices, although I have no clinical evidence of this claim.
The powerful anti-oxidant mixture of a smoothie prepared with a high speed blender as above could very well unleash all of the vital nutrients needed to protect your colon and in fact dramatically enhance your over all health.
Below is more information on dietary measures and a link that will take you into our smoothie feature. The link is also on the blueeyedcurse main menu.
We are not going to go into the complete dietary regimens that we believe will virtually eliminate colon problems, but let's cover a few of the critical aspects of diet as it relates to the colon.
First of all you have to understand what the intestinal/colon process is.
Absorbing nutrients and removing wastes are the primary functions of the intestinal tract. The traffic time as it relates to fiber in the diet is critical. You hear about 8 or so fruit and vegetable servings a day and if you ask most how does that help the situation, most will not know how to respond. We have found that once someone understands a problem they will become more motivated to correct it, rather than sweep the whole issue under the rug.
Everyone hearing fiber in the diet perceives of a courser material passing through the colon and removing wastes. The old timers used to call it "roughage". We believe that roughage can cause many more problems than benefits. The question is what constitutes "courser or roughage"? Metamucil is basically a powder form and is a fiber. Foods that are processed through a high speed blender as discussed above produce a very fine but effective fiber. We still go back to our chewing food theory as the finer you chew your food, the most nutrients and fiber you will realize.
Most do not recognize that the anti-oxidants of certain fiber foods not only are transferred into the body network to protect the entire system, there is a beneficial effect directed with the right anti-oxidants on the cell walls of the colon. There is no question the amount of fiber and antioxidants that are exposed to the colon walls, the less likely polyps will develop and in fact if there are polyps present, whether they are flat or pronounced there is a good chance the right onslaught of fiber and anti-oxidants could remove them naturally.
Keep in mind though when there is clinical signs of possible colorectal cancer, biopsies are required, so this is where we stop playing Doctor.
A couple of real block buster fiber/anti-oxidant foods besides green raw vegetables is the prune and apples. Prunes by the way although known for their positive effect on the bowels have the highest amount of natural anti-oxidants of any foods known to man. They have twice as much as the second contender Raisins. Two good size prunes a day cut up in cereal every morning would be the best thing you could do for your colon. Add a good hard apple every day to your diet and you will be on your way to avoiding colon cancer and we prefer to add an apple to our smoothie, rather than eating it out of hand. The best scenario when cutting up the apple for the blender, is slice it up, take 3 or 4 slices and chew them up as well as you can. Put the balance in the blender. When I get down to the core while slicing I knock off both ends of the core stem and calyx and put the heart of the core seeds and all into the blender.
This information is intended to heighten awareness of potential health care alternatives and should not be considered as medical advice. See your qualified health-care professional for medical attention, advice, diagnosis, and treatments.
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