My best friend who is a doctor came to me in tears and a lot of grief because his father had been diagnosed with Colorectal Cancer. The pity of it all is that his dad suffered from constipation and only recently noticed a lot of blood in the stool, which he initially ignored, thinking that it was from straining from constipation.
The eventuality was that his father did not seek proper medical attention until a stage four cancer was diagnosed. Remember his son is a doctor.
The colon is the most overworked part of the human anatomy. It consists of only nine feet – three feet ascending colon, three feet transverse colon and three feet consisting of the descending colon, the sigmoid colon and the rectum. The irony is that the colon may be the easiest part of the anatomy to prevent from forming cancers, and it is almost always dietary related.
Disease begins in the Colon
Were you to not flush your toilet for three days, the awful smell that results would fill your whole house and no one would be happy. Remember the Hurricanes Jeanne, Francis and Wilma, when we had no water and it took some time to get sea water and occasionally rain water to flush our toilets. Yet patients come to me not having passed their stools for a month, and cannot seem to understand how dangerous a situation that is.
This condition is very prevalent in our society today, most especially in young children and older senior citizens. I remember my grandmother insisting periodically that all of us children had to have a clean-out. All religions Muslim, Buddhist, Rastafarians, Jewish and Christians all have times of prayer and fasting, when the result is always to give internal cleansing to the rectum and colon. Again my grandmother was never without her red little rubber bag. A regular enema is an essential part of Bahamian life.
Colorectal tumors and colon cancer are amongst the third most common cancers in America. All tumors are not cancerous. There are polyps and other noncancerous growths on the wall of the colon and rectum, which are observed during the procedure called Colonoscopy. This procedure illuminates only the final third of the colon. It is being recommended more and more as an essential procedure for anyone, male or female, over 50 years of age.
In the animal kingdom, especially dogs, we note that the dog will periodically find some grass or herb to eat which would promote vomiting or diarrhea. The wisdom of this natural process has been practiced by our older Bahamians, especially in islands like Cat Island and other out islands, where no western trained doctor was available. The bush medicine must have worked for we know that many of our people on the outer islands, sometimes called Family Islands, live to be healthy centurions.
Cleansing of the colon, therefore appears to be an essential feature of health maintenance along with good nutrition and regular outdoor exercise.
Colonic vs Colonoscopy
The headline of The Freeport News Monday specified that prostate cancer screening (note for men only) received some 700 participants this year. Don Mitchell and Dr. Brathwaite began this screening along with Dr. Robin Roberts just a few years ago and most Bahamian men shy away from that rectal examination, which is part of the PSA, DRE combination.
However, colorectal cancers involve both men and women and also may be diagnosed by a DRE (Digital Rectal Examination). A colonoscopy essentially examines only three feet of the colorectal anatomy and costs in the vicinity of $1,500.
A colonic on the other hand, costs significantly less and in our clinic treats the entire nine feet of the colorectal anatomy. It would appear to me, therefore that a wise and prudent patient might choose to have a colonic done as an essential part of their health care. Certainly, the less expensive procedure is well within the purse range of all Bahamians.
Colorectal Cancer Risk
The risk of developing this dreaded malignancy are things like smoking, alcohol abuse, obesity, a high fat, low fiber diet, physical inactivity, i.e. sitting at a desk, a family history of cancer or polyps and anyone 50 years of age or older. The essential thing for patients to watch for are: (a) blood in the stools, (b) a change in bowel habit, (c ) suddenly developing constipation or (d) diarrhea, passing gas inordinately and (e) abnormal pain and discomfort.
Diet vs. Dying
We, in the land of Taino and the Lucayan Indians, have had a natural diet, which is healthy and wholesome. Unfortunately, our imitation of the American system of fast foods, sodas and sweet drinks, inactivity, especially staying indoors and not drinking adequate alkaline water have also been essential features of colorectal cancers. Our diet should go back to the style and away from the imitation of the lifestyle of Babylon.
“Live long and prosper Spock.”
Published Tuesday, September 13, 2016