Caregivers Play Key Role in Disease Management of Older Colon Cancer Patients

Colon cancer patients who are 65 and older may benefit from a caregiver’s involvement, and caregivers may ultimately have a major impact on patients’ disease management, according to a survey of oncologists commissioned by the Alliance for Aging Research.

Ninety percent of oncologists feel that caregivers have a moderate to major impact on the decision-making process. Unfortunately, only about 64 percent of colon cancer patients in this age group have caregivers’ support.

“Physicians should encourage patients to enlist a caregiver and involve them in the treatment decision-making process,” said Dr. Stuart Lichtman, associate attending physician at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

More than half of oncologists who agree that colon cancer patients 65 and older have a more difficult time managing their disease than younger patients also agree that these patients are generally less proactive about researching available treatment options. Seventy-seven percent said that such patients experienced better disease outcomes with a caregiver’s involvement due to increased communication. Additionally, caregivers play an important role in providing emotional support, participating in doctors’ visits and in decisions about disease management options and providing transportation to appointments.

“It is clear that caregivers are key to ensuring that colon cancer patients 65 and older receive the best care,” said Daniel Perry, executive director of Alliance for Aging Research. “Since managing colon cancer can be a complicated and confusing process especially for the aging population, a caregiver, whether a spouse, child, friend or neighbor, should be actively involved.”

“Crossing Jordan” star Miguel Ferrer, who lost his father, José Ferrer, to colon cancer, is partnering with the Alliance for Aging Research in a program called “Caring for the Aging,” to educate colon cancer patients and caregivers about the importance of active involvement in the treatment of the disease. This awareness program is sponsored by sanofi-aventis.

“The involvement of my stepmother helped ease my father’s decision-making process as he went down a difficult path,” Ferrer said. “I encourage all caregivers and family members to become actively involved and ask the right questions to ensure the best possible outcomes for their loved one.”

Treatments & Coping With Colon Cancer

Patients who receive a diagnosis of colon cancer quickly become depressed and have a lot of unanswered questions about their future. The most important thing for them to realize is that they are not alone and that their friends and family are there to provide love and support.

When dealing with any type of illness, including colon cancer, family and friends are the first thought of a positive support system. Understandably, these same people may be experiencing a lot of emotional pain and anxiety themselves, which stems from seeing their loved on suffering from an illness. If, for these reasons, a cancer patient cannot find support at home, it’s a good idea to join a local support group or become involved in an activity that they enjoy. If their health allows it, a cancer patient should continue living life and enjoying every day as possible. While quality of life is very important, making sure to take time out for rest is one of the key points for successful recovery from any illness.

Immediately following diagnosis, a colon cancer patient may want to visit their local library or research the internet for educational resources, of which there are plenty available. This information will help the patient to become better informed and allow them to be more involved with their treatment. It’s important to know, and understand, what is happening to the body during an illness, treatments and recovery. It is equally recommended that a patient remain involved in his/her care for as long as possible. This can be achieved by conducting research, asking the physician a lot of questions and preparing for best and worst case scenarios.

Depending on how advanced a cancer patient’s illness is, several treatment options are available. If a patient decides to move forward with treatment, he/she may also wish to consult another physician for a second opinion in order to confirm the diagnosis and recommended treatment. The best outcome is to eliminate the cancer completely but, if that is not possible, the doctor may be able to stop the cancer from spreading or to relieve the patient‘s symptoms and discomfort.

Assuming the patient’s health will allow it, and he/she wishes to pursue remedies, the main method of treatment is surgery. Depending on the location and size of the cancer, a doctor may be able to remove all or part of the colon. If a polyp is the only cancer that is known to be present, it may be all that needs removing. In some cases of colon cancer, the patient must wear a permanent colostomy following surgery. This occurs if the cancer is so advanced that it forces the doctor to remove the entire colon.

Another common approach to treating colon cancer is for the patient to begin a series of chemotherapy treatments. This process involves the intake of medicines to help fight the cancer cells, which can either be taken orally or delivered through the patient’s veins. This option is often most useful to rid the patient of any lingering cancer cells following surgery. In addition, chemotherapy may be used to control the growth of cancer, relieve symptoms and prolong life. Radiation therapy, often used in conjunction with chemotherapy to help combat various other cancers, is not a treatment used to help colon cancer patients after surgery.

This article should not be construed as professional medical advice. If you, or someone that you know, is concerned about the possibility of cancer, you should seek medical attention immediately. A medical doctor can discuss various options, prevention and treatment possibilities should the presence of cancer be detected. A series of tests may be conducted in order to confirm, or rule out, any such diagnosis and can only be done by a medical doctor.

Colon cleansing is preventative health care

Colon cleansing is preventative health care, rather than a treatment for a disease. It is critical because it helps to detoxify your body of all the unnecessary and unwanted toxins that build up in your body. It is also regarded as a safe and alternative method to treat many of our symptoms and problems. Colon cleansing is a procedure of cleansing the body, resulting in the release of toxins, poisons, carcinogens and free radicals. Natural colon cleansers are also available and if you think you don’t have much time and money for clinic sessions, you can do colon cleansing at home.

Colon cleansing is the first step on the road to recovery. Detoxification is necessary to rid our body of toxins that accumulate as a result of an unhealthy diet, environmental pollution and chemicals, and a constant use of antibiotics. Cleansing your body with an effective, all natural colon treatment is a good way to approach parasites cleansing, weight gain, IBS, severe gas and bloating, etc. Cleansing, also called detoxification, is our body’s normal process of elimination, a function that occurs daily through our colon, liver, kidney, lungs, lymph and skin. Cleansing reactions are part of cleansing and are not the same as “side effects” normally associated with medication.

Naturally, the colon in your digestive system is responsible for holding wastes. Natural colon cleansing involves a cleansing diet, which consists of some efficient herbs that are known for killing certain harmful parasites and worms. Body detox is one of the effective way to keep us
healthy, help our digestion system and put all the toxins out of the body. Natural colon cleansing involves taking a balanced diet and additionally,
a few herbal supplements that help kill the harmful bacteria and in removing excess of toxins.

Natural colon cleansing is a great way to help restore health to this vital organ of your digestive system. Natural herbal colon cleansers makes the process of colon detox very smooth and thus helps us to maintain our body in a much more effective way. More often than not, natural colon cleansing means following a colon cleansing diet along with taking some colon cleansing supplements which may include herbs which are known to kill parasites and worms, contain digestive enzymes, contain probiotics
(beneficial bacteria), contain herbs that stimulates liver, gallbladder and intestines, also psyllium husk or seeds, Cascara Sagrada, or flax seeds, or
slippery elm, and others.

Cancer of the colon and rectum (colorectal cancer) is a malignant tumor arising from the inner wall of the large intestine. Cancer affecting the colon and/or rectum is diagnosed in more than 140,000 Americans each year. Cancer of the colon and rectum is the third most common cause of cancer death in women (after lung and breast cancers) and the third most common cause of cancer death in men (after lung and prostate cancers). This is probably one of the reason as to why one can find literally find thousands of magazines and journals which gives a detailed analysis on the dangers of deadly toxins that can inturn lead to the building up of parasites and ultimately leads on to colon cancer.

Colon cleansing herbs are of paramount importance to the health of the body as they can eliminate the many toxins in the body system which the body cannot normally expel. Colon cleansing herbs are available in two different forms — namely, a pre-made formula or just as single herbs. Colon cleansing herbs are simply mixtures of herbs that have been found to help expedite the removal of waste from a person’s body in an efficient way.

A Healthy Colon Is Imperative For Keeping The Body Healthy And Detoxified

With today’s active life style’s and less than adequate eating habits a healthy colon is imperative for keeping the body healthy and detoxified.
Part of the reason so many Americans have an unhealthy colon is the lack of fiber benefits to their diet. Having a healthy colon is the key to long term health and finding good colon healthy recipes is one way to help keep your body healthy. Constipation, digestive distress, and mucous in your stools are just a few signs that your colon might not be completely healthy, and a healthy colon is absolutely necessary for a healthy body.

Don’t let an unhealthy colon become a breeding ground for toxic poisons, parasites, disease and death. Colon therapy can also help rid the body of
parasites without a need for the heavy drugs usually prescribed to treat them. There are a number of colon cleansing products on the market today
that will cleanse the colon as well as expel parasites.

Diets of saturated fats, meats, sugars and processed foods contribute to impacted feces along the inside of the colon wall. However, eating a diet with insufficient fiber is like cleansing dishes without a sponge. A healthy diet full of fiber and probiotics (good bacteria and yeast),
plenty of rest and water, and regular exercise keeps your colon healthy. The problem is that no one who eats a “normal” diet is able to escape
the gradual formation of caked deposits and build-ups on the lining of the colon. Many people might be amazed and disgusted at what actually comes
out of an average “healthy” person during a colonic treatment.

If you want to prevent colon toxicity, chronic disease and premature aging, cleansing your colon is essential. Colon cleansing is the best defense
against colon toxicity developing, as well as maintaining a healthy diet and active lifestyle. Take charge of this important bodily function: Get
started cleaning your colon today. There are several products that we believe work very well for getting and keeping a clean and healthy colon and digestive tract. A colon cleansing can actually assist in weight loss as well, in fact some have reported up to a twenty five (25) pound loss almost over night.

A normal healthy colon is the cornerstone of a sound nutritional program assuring normal assimilation of nutritional supplements as well as dietary
food nutrients. A healthy colon is truly essential to one’s overall health, especially when you consider that literally everything you eat ends up in your bowels as toxins. One of the most important things you can do to keep a healthy colon is to cleanse your body of toxins, pollutants and impacted fecal matter. The recommended amount of fiber everyone needs to maintain a healthy colon is generally between 20 and 35 grams of fiber a day.

We place significant importance on the products we use to brush our teeth, wash our hair, and cleanse our bodies. Find out as much information as possible, and speak to people who have actually used colon cleansing products and services. The elimination of undigested food and other waste products are as important as the proper digest and assimilation of food stuffs. Psyllium husk and bentonite clay based herbal colon cleansing products are safe and we recommend them as part of your overall getting healthy plan.

A Mother’s Battle With Advanced Colon Cancer

In the fall of 2003, Bridget Beranek, a 44-year-old wife and mother of two young girls, was gearing up for a busy holiday season filled with family functions, parties and shopping. So when she began to lose her appetite and energy, Bridget initially chalked it up to holiday stress.

When the New Year came and went, but Bridget’s symptoms were still present, she knew it was more than stress. After several visits to her primary care physician, Bridget saw an internist, and underwent a colonoscopy. In March 2004, she was diagnosed with stage IV colorectal cancer that had spread to her liver.

“I know it sounds cliché, but I couldn’t believe this was happening to me,” said Bridget. “Scheduling a colonoscopy was not a priority for me because I was under 50 and lived a healthy lifestyle. I ate right, didn’t drink or smoke, and went regularly for a mammogram. One thing I learned from this experience is that colon cancer is a disease more people, especially women, need to be better informed about.”

The American Cancer Society reports that colorectal cancer, commonly referred to as colon cancer, is the second-leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States, second only to lung cancer. It is also the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women.

Risk factors for colon cancer include a family or personal history of the disease, intestinal polyps or chronic inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, a high-fat diet, and being age 50 or older. Symptoms may include changes in bowel habits, abdominal discomfort, vomiting, fatigue, blood in the stool or unexplained weight loss, though many people are diagnosed without any symptoms.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends men and women over age 50 who have an average risk for colon cancer receive screening. Higher-risk patients, such as those with a family history of the disease, should talk with their physicians about when they should begin screening.

Fortunately for Bridget, a new treatment for metastatic colorectal cancer had just been approved by the FDA, only weeks before her diagnosis. Her oncologist decided to treat her with a combination of traditional chemotherapy and a targeted therapy called Avastin® (bevacizumab). Though she occasionally has side effects such as fatigue, Bridget’s cancer has responded to the treatment and she is doing well. She is thankful to be able to spend time with her husband and daughters, and to practice her favorite hobby, photography.

Typically, metastatic colorectal cancer patients undergo surgery followed by chemotherapy. Today’s targeted therapies, which are designed to attack cancer cells in a more specific way than chemotherapy, provide an additional tool for doctors to use in treating this disease. Avastin, for example, is an angiogenesis inhibitor, which means it interferes with the blood vessels that feed cancer tumors, to help prevent tumors from growing and spreading to other parts of the body. Avastin is approved for use in combination with intravenous 5-fluorouracil-based chemotherapy for first-line treatment of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.

It is important to keep in mind that Avastin has been associated with side effects in colorectal cancer. Serious side effects occur rarely, but can include gastrointestinal perforation and slow or incomplete wound healing and blood clot complications. Other more common side effects seen in clinical trials include nosebleeds, high blood pressure, proteinuria (too much protein in the urine, which may be a sign of kidney damage), weakness, pain, diarrhea, and a reduced white blood cell count.

Because everyone is different, it is not possible to predict what side effects an individual may experience. If you have questions about side effects or treatment with Avastin, talk to your doctor or another member of the health-care team.

Eliminating Barriers To Colon Cancer Screening

There is good news for those concerned about colon cancer. Physicians know that colon cancer screening saves lives. Yet an estimated 148,000 Americans, both women and men, are diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year, and every year approximately 55,000 will die-the nation’s second deadliest cancer. Yet, it’s believed most of these deaths could be prevented through proper screening.

However, experts from the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) warn that too few Americans are getting screened. Colorectal screening rates remain very low, even though Medicare and many private plans pay for screening tests.

Despite increasing public awareness of colon cancer screening tests through the efforts of Katie Couric and others, many people continue to face obstacles to screening. Even Medicare beneficiaries, for whom incidence and death from the disease are highest, encounter problems with access to screening colonoscopy.

Congress Can Help

“Pending legislation in the U.S. Congress, such as the Colon Cancer Screen for Life Act (S.1010/ H.R. 1632), promises to remove Medicare’s barriers to screening,” says ACG President Dr. Jack A. DiPalma of Mobile, Alabama. “But only one small improvement, the waiver of the Medicare deductible, was approved for 2006, so much remains to be done.”

Research indicates that colon cancer arises from precancerous growths or polyps that grow in the colon. When detected early, these growths or polyps can be removed, actually preventing the development of colon cancer.

“With improved use of colon cancer screening, we can save lives,” adds Dr. DiPalma.

The College currently recommends colonoscopy every 10 years beginning at age 50 for average-risk individuals as the preferred screening strategy to prevent colon cancer.

For patients with higher risk factors such as a family history of colon cancer or a previous personal history of polyps, and for African Americans, ACG recommends earlier and/or more frequent screening with colonoscopy.

Testing For Inherited Colon Cancer

Inherited colon cancer is an issue that both men and women need to be concerned about. Since this type of cancer is part of the DNA coding there is nothing you can do prevent the fact that you may have it. However, you can get tested for inherited colon cancer and therefore your doctor can help you prevent it from affecting your lifestyle.

Even though inherited colon cancer is still a major ailment in or society, the number of deaths from it continue to drop due to various types of testing that have been implemented over the past 15 years. Early screenings at annual check ups can identify any development of polyps. The removal of them will prevent colon cancer from starting and from spreading.

Once polyps have been discovered on an individual, they will be scheduled for regular follow up appointments. These may be every three months, six months, or annually depending on the family history of inherited colon cancer and the amount of polyps that were discovered. Those with high cholesterol are also at a greater risk of inherited colon cancer. Getting tested for that can help to detect factors that can be controlled as everyone can choose to reduce the amount of fatty foods they consume.

Testing for diabetes is common for those with inherited colon cancer as well. Statistics show that individuals with diabetes are 1/3 more likely to be diagnosed with inherited colon cancer. Effective treatment of their diabetes can help to offset the development of the colon cancer.

There are different types of screenings that a person can have completed in order to be tested for inherited colon cancer. A fecal blood test can be done annually when the individual goes in for a regular check up. There is a flexible sigmoidoscopy that can be conducted every five years. A full colonoscopy only has to be done once every ten years. Your doctor can tell you what tests they recommend you engage in based on your family history, your current health issues, and your age.

Inherited colon cancer is an issue you really need to be concerned with it there is any family history of it at all. It is ranked as the third highest form of cancer diagnosed in the United States. It is the second largest cause of cancer related deaths in the United States as well. While it does affect slightly more males than females both sexes need to be aware of their family history. If this isn’t possible then early testing should be part of preventative measures.

More than one million people in the United States have been diagnosed with inherited colon cancer and are survivors. Due to the progressing of testing for it and aggressive treatment options early diagnosis definitely has contributed to their ability to beat the odds. It can take up to ten years from the first signs of inherited colon cancer being recognized to a person developing incurable cancer that will spread and result in their death.

‘Buddy Bracelet’ Spreads Awareness of Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is 90 percent preventable and 90 percent treatable when detected early, yet it continues to be the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States.

To help spread the message about the importance of early detection, the Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation and its 54 partners have joined together to celebrate National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month by introducing the “Buddy Bracelet,” a unique and powerful way to promote public awareness of the disease.

“Today, in a sea of colored bracelets, the blue Buddy Bracelet stands out by creating a clever way for people to take their health into their own hands,” said Carolyn Aldigé, president and founder of the Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation. “The bracelet spreads the message that colorectal cancer is preventable, treatable and beatable.”

Launched in 2004 to celebrate National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, the Buddy Bracelet reminds those who wear it to get screened for colorectal cancer. After the person is screened, he or she gives the bracelet to a family member, friend or colleague, passing on the powerful message about talking with a health care professional about colorectal cancer. The bracelet then is transferred from that person to another person and so on.

The bracelet’s theme, “Wear it, share it, because you care,” is a message that could save thousands of lives.

People at average risk for

colorectal cancer should get screened starting at age 50. Younger people can help support the Buddy Bracelet effort by learning about their families’ medical histories, starting a dialogue about colorectal cancer with their health care professionals and reminding loved ones to get screened.

Staging Colon Cancer

When a doctor wants to evaluate the progress of colon cancer of one of his patients he or she uses a method called Staging. This method is about finding out to what extent the tumor (colon cancer) has spread to the other regions of the patients body. Once the doctors figured out in what stage the colon cancer is, they will develop the best course of action or treatment.

At this point in time the system that is most commonly used for the staging process of colon cancer is called the American Joint Committee on Cancer’s (AJCC) TNM staging system. Simply put this system used for staging places the patients into one of four stages.

Stage 0

Stage 0 also known as carcinoma in situ or colorectal cancer. In this stage the colon cancer has been detected in the innermost lining of the colon.

Stage I

In this stage the colon cancer has already begun to spread. But the cancer is still in the inner lining of the rectum or colon. In this stage the colon cancer has not reached the outer walls of the colon yet. Stage I is also known as Duke A or colorectal cancer.

Stage II

In this stage the colon cancer spread more deeply into or through the colon or rectum. Possibly the colon cancer may have affected other tissue as well. In this stage the colon cancer hasn’t reached the Lymph nodes (bean-sized structures which can be found in the entire body that helps the body fight all kinds of infections and diseases. Stage II is also known as Duke B or colorectal cancer.

Stage III

When you are in this stage the colon cancer has now spread to the Lymph nodes although it hasn’t spread to nearby parts of the body. Stage III is also known as Duke C or colorectal cancer.

Stage IV

In this stage the colon cancer has spread through the Lymph node system to other nearby tissue. This is most commonly called metastasis. The organs that most likely are affected are the lungs and liver. Stage IV is also known as Duke D or colorectal cancer.

Recurrent Colon Cancer or Cancerous Cells

When doctors talk about recurrent colon cancer they mean that cancerous cells that have already been treated have returned. These cancerous cells could possibly have returned as colorectal cancer but they might as well return in any other part of the body too.

One Simple Test Can Help You Fight The Battle Against Colon Cancer

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States for both women and men. This disease surpasses both breast and prostate cancer in mortality, second only to lung cancer in the number of cancer deaths. Despite the fact that it is highly preventable, it is estimated that 148,610 new cases of colorectal cancer will be diagnosed and 55,170 people will die from the disease in 2006. However, when detected and treated early, colorectal cancer has a five-year survival rate of greater than 90 percent. For that reason, routine screening is vital in the prevention and detection of this deadly disease.

CRC Screening

According to the American Cancer Society, “beginning at age 50, both men and women at average risk for developing colorectal cancer should follow one of these five testing schedules:

• yearly fecal occult blood test (FOBT)* or fecal immunochemical test (FIT)

• flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years

• yearly FOBT* or FIT plus flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years**

• double-contrast barium enema every five years

• colonoscopy every 10 years

* For FOBT, the take-home multiple sample method should be used.

** The combination of yearly FOBT or FIT plus flexible sigmoid-oscopy every five years is preferred over either of these options alone.

All positive tests should be followed up with colonoscopy.”

New Test

One simple, easy-to-use test is Quidel’s QuickVue® iFOB test. QuickVue iFOB is a fecal immunochemical test (FIT) where the sample is collected by the patient in the privacy of his/her home and mailed to the physician for testing. The test detects the presence of blood in stool specimens, an indication of a number of gastrointestinal disorders, including colorectal cancer.

The QuickVue iFOB test requires only one specimen. Because it is specific to human hemoglobin (blood), there are no dietary restrictions and only certain medication restrictions, distinguishing it from guaiac-based tests that have onerous restrictions. In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, in comparison with guaiac-based tests, commonly known as Fecal Occult Blood Tests (FOBTs), immunochemical tests are more patient-friendly.

“We are committed to saving lives through early screening and detection of colon cancer,” said John Tamerius, Ph.D., Vice President, Clinical and Regulatory Affairs, Quidel Corporation. “We believe our unique, patient-friendly sample collection device makes this screening process as easy as possible for the patient.”

Despite these recent advancements in CRC screening, less than 50 percent of people age 50 or older have had a recent test. There appears to be a significant opportunity for CRC prevention since it takes an average of 10 years for cancerous cells to develop. Therefore, if you’re over the age of 50 or have a family history of colon cancer, you should speak with your physician about taking an iFOB test. The test is simple, takes a minimal amount of time and may help save your life.