Larry A. Law
Multiple Screening Options
There are multiple screening tests for colon cancer including non-invasive stool-based tests like fecal immunochemical test (FIT), fecal occult blood test (FOBT), multi-targeted stool DNA test (mt-sDNA) as well as structural exams like virtual colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, and, of course, a colonoscopy. Despite these other options, most doctors favor colonoscopies.
Drawbacks of Colonoscopies
Colonoscopies have several significant drawbacks: 1) Infection from poorly disinfected instruments—an estimated 80% of colonoscopy instruments are improperly sanitized using Cidex (glutaraldehyde) because it is cheaper. Peracetic acid does a better job so it's prudent to make sure the hospital or clinic uses this to sanitize their endoscopes if you plan on having this procedure done. 2) Perforation of the colon and/or gastrointestinal bleeding. This happens in about 8 out of 10,000 cases. 3) Gut imbalances caused by flushing out the intestinal tract with harsh laxatives before the procedure. 4) Increased risk of stroke, heart attack and pulmonary embolism triggered by the side effects of anesthesia. 5) False positives or false negatives usually result in unnecessary treatment or give the patient a false sense of security.
Routine Colonoscopies After 50?
It depends upon your lifestyle, attitude, and risk factors. Dr. Mercola (68 years old) and I (67 years old) have never had one and don't plan on starting. But on the plus side, colonoscopies do offer a reliable way to check for colon cancer by visual inspection. In addition, polyps in their early stages can be simply snipped off. Other polyps can be biopsied and documented. This early intervention could save your life.
Feeding your body proper nutrition is another way to ensure your body recognizes when something is going wrong. The immune system can do the job it was designed to do given the proper ingredients. A healthy immune system is very capable of detecting, identifying and removing bad cells. When that process is done every day no one needs to fear a cancer diagnosis in their future. To learn more about apoptosis (how bad cells die), see my book (section 3).