Hospitals Miss Colon Cancer

Troubling news, new research claims that two-thirds of U.S. hospitals FAIL to check colon cancer patients well enough for signs that their tumor is spreading. Being that colon cancer is a MAJOR killer in this country, you’d think they’d be a little more thorough about it!

The study appears in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The Associated Press reports:

It's a fairly simple thing we can do to try to improve care for our patients," said lead author Dr. Kyle Bilimoria, of Northwestern and the American College of Surgeons.

Colorectal cancer is the nation's second leading cancer killer, set to claim almost 50,000 lives this year.

Some 148,000 Americans are diagnosed annually. For many, the node check can be crucial. Whether cancer has entered these doorways to the rest of the body is an important factor in long-term survival - and thus helps doctors decide who gets chemotherapy after surgery and who can skip it…

…To check enough nodes, surgeons must remove enough of the fat tissue by the colon where they hide, and pathologists must painstakingly dissect that tissue to find the tiny nodes.

Surgeons frequently tell of getting a pathology report of four clean nodes and asking the pathologist to find more, "and lo and behold, one of those additional nodes turns out to be positive," Bilimoria said.

Now, great news! If you’re worried about colon cancer, consider this. Dr. Fuhrman recommends an Immunochemical Fecal Occult Blood test. In fact, he sells them on his website. It’s a simple, less invasive test, but it can yield IMPORTANT results. Such as—via

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease such as Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s.
  • Diverticulitis or angiodysplasia of the colon.
  • Non-cancerous polyps or colon cancer.
  • Occult bleeding of the GI tract from aspirin or other drugs.
  • Bleeding hemorrhoids or fissures.
  • Contamination of the stool with blood from menstruation or urinary bleeding.
  • Earliest detection and prevention of colon cancer.
  • Detection of precancerous stages.

Granted, a poop test is not the yummiest thing in the world, but a quick test once a year, sure beats missing a diagnosis—you know?

For more on colon cancer, check out DiseaseProof’s colon cancer category.

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Sara - September 11, 2008 11:12 PM

My mom didn't know she had colon cancer until it was very late stage. But it only helps to know if something can be done about it. Then again if my brother had known he had cancer sooner would he actually have made a will? I don't think much of hospitals in any case.

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