Screening Colonoscopy Highly Effective

The proverbial “ounce of prevention” can be very crucial when it comes to cancer screening methods. Cancer screening has been in the forefront for some time. Early disease detection is not only crucial for successful treatment; it can be a lifesaver!
Effective screening methods are available for some forms of cancer. Mammography screening for breast cancer and rectal examination and PSA tests for prostate cancer are methods that have received attention in the media.
Screening the large intestine for colon cancer by performing a colonoscopy has not made inroads, but new statistics point out the benefits. A colonoscopy will examine the colon for irregularities, namely the formation of polyps. Polyps are initially harmless and non-cancerous, however over time, some polyps have the potential to turn cancerous. In a colonoscopy examination, small polyps can be removed immediately, and this “weeding out” process is a highly effective preventative method against colon cancer. Research has shown, that one colonoscopy that is performed in a middle-aged patient (in his 50’s or 60’s) decreases the risk of developing colon cancer quite significantly. If no polyps are found in the initial screening, it is safe to assume that no colon cancer will present itself for 10 years.

Dr. Harminder Singh and associates from Cancer Care Manitoba and the University of Manitoba, in Winnipeg Manitoba/Canada, analyzed data of the Manitoba Health’s physicians’ database where 35,975 patients had undergone a colonoscopy, but were negative for colon cancer.These colonoscopies took place between April 1, 1989, and December 31, 2003 and follow-up was for 10 years. The end point was death or diagnosis of colon cancer.

One Screening Colonoscopy Guarantees Low Colon Cancer Risk for 10 Years (modified JAMA. 2006; 295: p.2366-2373)









This retrospective study showed the following results depicted in the modified graph bar. Patients who were negative in the beginning of the study had a reduction of colon cancer rates of 72% at the 10-year point when compared to those who had no colonoscopy. This is quite an astounding finding. Even at the 5-year point there was a reduction of colon cancer risk by 45% from a single colonoscopy. This would indicate that a person should have a colonoscopy at about the age of 50 to establish freedom of colon cancer. This could be repeated only every 10 years to ensure that no colon polyps and colon cancer develop in the meantime. This should be definitely done in patients who have a family history where colon cancer occurred in a first relative such as mother, father, brother or sister, where specialists say screening should be done every 3 years. In this familial form of colon cancer they should also have a colonoscopy done earlier (at age 40 or earlier). However, this data would indicate that in everybody such colonoscopy screening would be beneficial as it is one of the most common cancers in men and women and other tests are not reliable at this time.

More information about colon cancer: http://nethealthbook.com/cancer-overview/colon-cancer/

Reference: JAMA. 2006;295: page 2366-2373

Last edited Nov. 1, 2014


Flu Shots Prevent Heart Disease, Lung Disease, Strokes And Deaths

It has been known for some time that flu shots would be beneficial. But it was not known until now whether in larger field studies people who are 65 years or older would benefit significantly and to what degree from yearly influenza vaccinations (“flu shots”).

The April 3rd, 2003 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine published the answer to this question. Dr. Nichol from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and his collegues have followed 140,055 patients of whom 55.5% were vaccinated against the flu in the 1998/1999 flu season.

They also followed 146,328 subjects during the 1999-2000 flu season of whom 59.7% were vaccinated against the flu. Below is a breakdown how they fared when compared to non-immunized controls (see table).

Flu Shots Prevent Heart Disease, Lung Disease, Strokes And Deaths

Flu Shots Prevent Heart Disease, Lung Disease, Strokes And Deaths

The examiners of this study concluded that high risk patients (asthma patients, patients with diabetes, cancer, elderly patients, arthritic patients and patients with high blood pressure) should have a yearly Flu vaccination.

Patients after Flu vaccinations. How did they do?
(based on 1998/99 and 1999/2000 flu seasons)
Complications: Observation:
Heart disease: reduced 19% this included heart failure and heart attacks
Hospitalization for stroke: reduced 16% to 23% often hospitalization for stroke patients can be weeks and months, often resulting in other complications due to bacterial superinfections, falls or clots
Pneumonia and
influenza rate:
29% to 32%
this can lead to heart attacks and deaths from bacteria in the blood
Death rates: reduced 48% to 50% all of the deadly complications from getting the Flu remarkably reduced by Flu shots!

However, in my opinion anybody would benefit from regular Flu vaccinations as this boosts the immune system in general protecting against other infections and colds as well.

Here is a link to a chapter on the flu in Net Health Book.

Last edited October 25, 2014