Colon cancer screening has a particular personal interest for me — one of my colleagues in residency training had her father die of colon cancer when she was a teenager.
No one should lose a loved one to a disease that, when caught early, is often treatable. But for both men and women, colon cancer is the third most common cancer behind lung cancer and prostate cancer in men, and behind lung cancer and breast cancer in women, it’s the second most lethal.
The problem is that patients are often confused about which test is the right one. Is it simply a stool test? Flexible sigmoidoscopy? Colonoscopy? Virtual colonoscopy? Isn’t there just a blood test that can be done? (No.)
In simple terms, this is what you need to know:
All men and women age 50 and older should be screened for colon cancer. Even if you feel healthy and well and have no family history, it must be done. Note that Oprah’s doctor, Dr. Oz, arguably a very health-conscious individual learned that he had a colon polyp at age 50 after a screening test. Left undetected, it could have cut his life short. This wake-up call caused him to abort his original second season premier on weight loss and instead show the country why colon cancer screening matters. He admitted that if it wasn’t for the show and the need to demonstrate the importance of screening to America, he would have delayed having any test done.
The least invasive test is a stool test. If it is to screen for colon cancer, then the test is done at home and NOT in the doctor’s office. Either the fecal occult blood test (FOBT) or the fecal immunochemical test (FIT) are available to screen for unseen microscopic blood that could be a sign of a colon polyp or cancer. Research shows that when a stool test is done annually, the risk of dying from colon cancer can fall by 15 to 33 percent. If you don’t want any fiber optic cameras in your rectum and lower colon, this is the test for you. You must do it annually.
The next two tests are similar but often confused: The flexible sigmoidoscopy and the colonoscopy. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Saving Money and Surviving the Healthcare Crisis*
By Barbara Ficarra, RN, BSN, MPA
Good news: You can get fit and toned anywhere with simple exercises.
My good friend works at a major company in NYC and she’s fortunate since she’s able to hit the gym on her lunch hour. If you have a job that allows you the time to go to the gym, that’s great. Not everyone is that fortunate.
As women we have so many responsibilities and we’re so busy. Trying to juggle work, family and friends can be a struggle and it’s not always easy to find time to exercise.
Truthfully, you don’t need to belong to a gym to exercise. Just keep moving. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or if you sit behind a cubicle, it doesn’t matter who you are. There are simple exercises that you can do anywhere.
I asked fitness expert Karen Ficarelli to share some simple tips to help keep you toned, whether you’re at home working or at the office. Karen suggests these easy moves to help tone your butt, thighs, calves, abs, waist, back, arms, shoulders and thighs. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Health in 30*
I consider myself a relatively fit person. Of course, “relatively” is still relative. I try to watch what I eat. I usually exercise five days a week. Heck, I’ve even run a couple half-marathons. But the rest of my days are pretty much sedentary. I sit in a climate-controlled office staring at my computer screen. I make dinner in my highly-automated kitchen. After dinner I sit in the living room sipping wine and watching TV or talking to Greta. Then I go to bed and start the process over again.
That’s not a whole lot of activity for a creature that evolved for endurance. Over a 50 mile course, a race between a man and a horse can be quite competitive. Millions of people all over the world do hard manual labor day in and day out. But millions of others don’t set aside any time for exercise. In my half-marathons, I’ve finished in the top half of competitors, so compared to a lot of people, I must be doing something right. Right? Or do my sedentary days outweigh my occasional bursts of activity? I exercise an average of 4 hours per week. That’s less than 4 percent of my total waking time. Is that really enough to stay fit? Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at The Daily Monthly*