Chew On This: Gum Helps Surgery, But Not Diets

Chewing gum fans won one and lost one this week: A new study found that chewing gum after colon surgery could help shorten your hospital stay. On the other hand, chewing gum failed to help dieters eat less in another study. People who have surgery for colon cancer – meaning a portion of the colon is removed –  typically spend several days in the hospital waiting for their intestines to start working again so they can eat normally. Previous studies …

Days of Laughter, Days of Grief

A lifelong friend received the worst kind of news not long ago when he was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer and given a matter of a few months to live. It had spread to his liver and lungs, and because of its total involvement with his liver it was considered inoperable. They gave him chemo and test trials of various possible cures but nothing worked.  The “Big C,” as he put it, could not be stopped. “I am being …

Colonoscopies and Seniors: What to Do?

Following up my last post – Learning to Say No to Doctors – I was interested to read results of a new study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association that reported up to 38 percent of colonoscopies performed on those between 76 to 85 years old (and almost 25 percent of those over 86) were potentially inappropriate under existing guidelines. I take a personal interest in this procedure because colon cancer played a significant role in my …

Free Colonoscopy Coverage Means Polyps, Too

A routine colonoscopy was supposed to be free under the new health care law, but then insurers began charging if doctors found and removed a polyp during the procedure. That’s a no-no, announced the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) last week, in an effort to clear up confusion about this and other medical tests that should be considered free preventive care, the Associated Press reported. In the notice posted on the HHS website, the agency explained that “polyp …

1 in 3 men too fat to see their you know what

Men, when you take off your clothes and look down, can you see your, um, manhood? If you can’t, you’re too fat. That’s the crude but effective test a British health-advocacy group says can let men know they have too much dangerous belly fat. The campaign is dubbed The Big Check and is based on the group’s  survey of 1,000 British men ages 35 through 60 that found that one in three couldn’t see their genitals because the view was …

Aspirin Helps Some Colon Cancer Patients Live Longer

It’s one of the oldest, cheapest drugs around, which makes it even more remarkable that humble aspirin helped dramatically cut the death rate among people with a specific kind of colon cancer, compared with those who didn’t take aspirin, new research shows. Harvard researchers in a large, government-funded study found that among patients whose tumors had a PIK3CA gene mutation – the cause of about 15 to 20 percent of colorectal tumors – regularly taking aspirin cut the risk of …