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Latest Posts

Rectal Cancer Becoming More Common In Younger People

Rates of rectal cancer in those younger than 40 have been increasing, the LA Times reported recently.

Researchers studied data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Registry and looked at the change in rectal and colon cancer incidence in those under 40 from 1973 to 2005. Overall rates were low, but while colon cancer incidence remained constant, rectal cancer incidence increased by an average of 3.8 percent annually, the authors reported in the journal Cancer.

The authors didn’t advocate routine screening in those under 40, but did recommend that physicians be more alert to the possibility of rectal cancer in those presenting with symptoms such as rectal bleeding, according to the Times. (LA Times)

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

Dr. Oz’s First Colonoscopy Finds Pre-Cancerous Polyp: What Can This Teach Us?

Dr. LaPook and Dr. OzDr. Mehmet Oz just might be the last person on earth people would expect to get a colon polyp. He’s physically fit (he left me in the dust the last time we ran together), he eats a healthy diet, he doesn’t smoke, and he has no family history of colorectal cancer or colon polyps.

But several weeks ago, when Mehmet had his first screening colonoscopy at age 50, I removed a small adenomatous polyp that had the potential to turn into cancer over time. Statistically, most small polyps like his don’t become cancer. But almost all colon cancers begin as benign polyps that gradually become malignant over about 10 to 15 years.

Since there’s no way of knowing which polyps will turn bad, we take them all out. The good news is there’s plenty of opportunity to prevent cancer by removing these polyps while they are still benign. But only about 63 percent of Americans between ages 50 and 75 get screened for colorectal cancer. Read more »

Most Primary Care Doctors Using Wrong Colon Cancer Screening Test

A recent article found that primary care doctors the United States are providing sub-standard care when it comes to colon cancer screening.

In the Journal of General Internal Medicine, researchers found that 25% of primary care doctors used in-office stool testing to screen for colon cancer. Specifically, doctors do a rectal exam and then swipe the rectal contents off their gloves onto a stool-testing card. A positive test result indicates the presence of blood, which can be invisible to the naked eye. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Saving Money and Surviving the Healthcare Crisis*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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