Today I Learn… I make a point of learning something new everyday. This is what I learn each day

1, Apr 13, 2019

Colorectal Cancer and the High Cost of Ignorance

Filed under: Health — Tags: — admin @ 8:24 pm

I can’t believe the year has rushed by so fast. There have been a lot of happenings since this year. First, my sister left for China on January 20. I went back to spend some time with my mother on January 31 and came back on March 26. After I got back, I was busy with filing tax returns and managed how to pay all the bills. This took care of a large chunk of the year.

While I was in China, I learned a piece of bad news about a relative of mine. He retired this February, had his first colonoscopy and confirmed stage 3C colorectal cancer in March, and checked into hospital for surgery in April. What a sad way to start his retirement!

We all learn a heavy lesson from this. First of all, this relative had rectal bleeding last year or even before that. They thought it was caused by his blood thinner medication that he started taking after a heart attack around two years ago. Without further check into his GI system, they simply changed his medication. When the bleeding continued early this year, the doctor suggested more GI checks which included colonoscopy, first time in his life. This is the first major lesson: check GI system first when having rectal bleeding.

Second lesson is the cost of ignorance. My relatives thought since this patient never had constipation, he would not be at any risk of having colon cancer. They didn’t understand both polyps formation and how polyps can become cancerous. From Mayo Clinic, I have learned that the risk factors in polyps formation include: (1) age (50+); (2) inflammatory intestinal conditions; (3) family history; (4) tobacco and alcohol use; (5) obesity and lack of exercise; (6) race (Afrio); (7) type 2 diabetes that is not well-controlled. My relative just turned 60; his father died of colon cancer; tobacco and alcohol user; not active; not well-controlled type 2 diabetes. With this background, he should have a colonoscopy at least a decade ago!

Third lesson is when it comes to your health and your life, you should take full responsibilities, do your homework, instead of relying on anyone else including doctors. Any laziness on your part could cost irreparable damages including your dear life.

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