Keep a healthy gut
Gerald W. Deas M.D., MPH | 3/20/2014, 12:47 p.m.
The lining of the large gut can also be irritated by toxins released from the breakdown of food products. This irritation may lead to polyps, which can form abnormal cancer cells. A diagnostic procedure known as a colonoscopy can detect the early formation of polyps that can be removed. If the polyps are not removed sizable, cancerous growths can occur, leading to obstruction of the large bowel. The cancer cells may also shed into the blood stream and deposit in distant organs like the liver. Not all folks develop polyps in the large gut. The development of polyps may be due to the lack of fiber in the diet, leading to poor bowel movements.
In Africa, it seems that conditions such as diverticulosis and cancer develop less frequently due to the large amount of fiber ingested there, resulting in frequent bowel movements that eliminate toxic wastes.
Early detection of cancer in the large gut is lifesaving. Guidelines from the American Cancer Society suggest the following:
Men and women who are at risk and who are age 50 or older should follow one of the five examination schedules below.
• Yearly fecal occult blood tests.
• Flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years.
• Double contrast barium enema every five years.
• Colonoscopy every 10 years.
People with a personal history of polyps, colon cancer or inflammatory bowel disease or with a family history of colon cancer or polyps are at a high risk for colon cancer. They may need to start being tested before age 50 and have tests done more often.
For further information on colon cancer, call 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit cancer.org.
For great health tips and access to an online community of physicians and other health care professionals, visit DrDeas.com.