Category Archives: Colon Cancer

Upcoming events around Detroit for Crohn’s and Colitis

More good things are happening in the digestive health world, thanks in no small part to social networks connecting the people who care about them the most. Those fighters keep the movement toward awareness going forward; and awareness leads to early detection and ultimately, prevention!

Here are some upcoming events to get involved in the fight against colon cancer, crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Mix and Mingle at Royal Oak’s HopCat

The Michigan chapter of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America are looking for new members to get involved. And what better what to do that than over beer? Head to HopCat in Royal Oak on Feb. 26 for a meet ‘n’ greet or to mix ‘n’ mingle with other young professionals in the area.

“Join us for Mingle Monday on February 26th at HopCat in Royal Oak starting at 6pm. Come meet other local professionals, learn more about the committee and brainstorm ways to make this year’s YP Committee even better. For more information about the YP Committee and to RSVP contact Kiel Porter at kporter@crohnscolitisfoundation.org or 248-737-0900 ext.4.”

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Camp Oasis Reunion at the Outdoor Adventure Center Detroit

Pizza and interactive exhibits make this event a must-attend. Free to past campers and only $5 for additional family members, this reunion gives you the chance to reconnect or if you’re new, the chance to get to know your new crew.

Third Annual Patient-2-Patient Education Project

This exciting event on March 21 is a FREE educational event for folks with various forms of IBD and their families.

“We have an exciting panel of guest speakers that will be pairing with expert IBD physicians, nutritionists, psychologists, and other healthcare professionals to discuss everyday IBD issues.”

You can even request the topics you want the panel to discuss beforehand. Get the rest of the details and RSVP through the Facebook page.

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World Cancer Day 2018: Uniting the world against preventable disease

27336678_2066910430000717_710002079010092896_nWe all have differences, from our fundamental beliefs such as religion or politics, all the way down to the foods we prefer or the temperature we keep our homes. But when we get down to brass tax, we’re all human.

Enter World Cancer Day, an initiative working to raise awareness of non-communicable diseases around the world, regardless of age, national origin or any other factor.

“Currently, 8.8 million people die from cancer worldwide every year, out of which, 4 million people die prematurely (aged 30 to 69 years),” says WCD.org.

So many of these cancers are preventable, few more than colorectal cancer, the third leading cancer across the world only to breast and lung. Preventative measures combined with early detection is the key to saving millions of lives each year.

“It’s exciting to see how every year there is greater support for World Cancer Day. We’re delighted to back this important initiative and would encourage everyone to get involved.” – Kate Allen, Executive Director of Science & Public Affairs, World Cancer Research Fund International

WCD aims to not just increase awareness, but to generate funds for research and to help get the word out. And their mantra is a simple but effective one: every action counts.

“Whether you do something as large as running your own World Cancer Day campaign, or as simple as sharing our template messages amongst your networks, every action has an impact. Show the world that we can, I can… get involved in the fight against cancer,” says WCD.org.

You can do things as small as donating a few dollars or sharing WCD’s materials on social media to raise awareness. Check out the SIGNS FOR CHANGE social media activity, where they ask you to take selfies and use their hashtags, #WorldCancerDay and #WeCanICan. You can also share your cancer story, read those of others, and hear from healthcare professionals and caregivers.

On February 4, 2018, let’s remember that we’re all human, all fighting for the chance at a better, healthier life. And also remember to get screened! It’s the number one way to detect cancer early to set you on the path of recovery.

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Get inspired! Crohn’s fighters share what works for them

Inspiration comes from everywhere and anywhere. We think the folks out there, fighting every day with with IBD, are among some of the most inspiring. That’s why we love to share their stories!

Kristina Krstev‎

“It has been 8 months since I changed to a pescatarian lifestyle…and I want to share my story. In May 2017 I was again in and out of the hospital due to my Crohn’s disease. Taking 14 different medications a day plus daily steroids to help…yet they never did.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, closeup“I was sitting at home after another expensive doctor appointment where I was told the next med would be a biological drug. The first side effect listed was ovarian cancer. I was terrified. A day later I was flipping thru stuff and ran across a ted talk about a man who had Crohn’s disease. Like me he was in pain daily and slowing losing the fight. He talked about how he changed to a vegetarian diet, and the way it changed his life. After a year they could not find the disease in his body. I was in disbelief. How could diet do all that?

“After I did research I began to get angry. Not with my disease anymore, but that after 10 years not one single specialist or doctor told me anything about how this could impact my life. I decided that I would try a pescatarian diet. After two weeks my symptoms declined and at three weeks they were gone. No more meds and no more steroids that made everything in my body hurt daily.

“I did not start this as an animal rights activist, and I’m still not. It’s more about what’s IN meat and diary that terrifies me now. The genetically enhanced food, antibiotics and so much more that are put into the animals we are supposed to consume from factory farms. We are disconnected from our food. We don’t hunt our food anymore and know that it came straight from the outdoors and was clean to eat. We walk into a well stocked grocery store and put our trust in multi million dollar industry’s who want more money from us.

“This is my story. You don’t have to agree with me, but I wanted to share it in the hope that it may help someone else as it did me. I am 7 1/2 months free from meds, and down 45 pounds. I don’t hurt everyday. I don’t worry about my disease ruining yet another experience I wanted to enjoy. I am free. I am healthy.”

Kayleigh Thompson

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing and indoor“I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. The biggest issue I’ve come across is with other people judging in a sense I don’t appear to look unwell or ‘she not that bad’. What they don’t see is our day to day lives can be filled with pain, stress, embarrassment too name a few. I’m still finding it hard to find the right coping mechanisms and the amount of doctors trips and medications I am fed have sometimes pushed me to my limits. Recently being able too to talk about my illness and raise awareness to others does help me come to terms with everything. Every day is a new day, a new challenge and you should never judge a book by its cover.”

Nicole Waddell‎

“I was diagnosed at the age of 17 in 2004. I have had Crohn’s Disease for 13 years now. I have a rare case of Crohn’s disease (IBD). It is important not to confuse an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS is a disorder that affects the muscle contractions of the bowel and is not characterized by intestinal inflammation, nor is it a chronic disease. Most patients have it affect the Ilium of their intestinal tract, but when I was diagnosed mine was covering my whole GI tract. 

Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, people standing“I was in so much denial of my new disease that I didn’t do what I was told and I became so sick I had to drop out of my 1st semester of college and move back home with my parents. I was devastated, depressed and full of anxiety of not knowing what would happen to me mentally or physically.

“I went physically anorexic due to not eating because the Crohns would give me horrible stomach cramps. I also had body pains, fatigue, depression, anxiety, & frequent diarrhea.
Over the years I have done many many rounds of max steroid doses. I have tired almost every biologic on the market. I now take a daily chemo drug as well as a high dose biologic every 6 weeks. I still have my intestines and colon. I am checked every year for esophageal, stomach, intestinal and colon cancer. Which I am at high risk for getting.

“I have had two kids through all this pain disease body and I wouldn’t change a thing for taking that chance. They are my biggest blessing! I love my little family of four! I might be out number and never getting to have a baby girl but I wouldn’t change it at all these boys melt my heart.
I would like to thank my family and most of all my husband for going through all the doctors visits, hospital visit and specially visits. I don’t have a cure for this lifetime disease yet but maybe one day we will find something close.

“Crohn’s doesn’t just affect you GI Tract. It causes you to have secondary problems as you go through the years of being diagnosed. I have had some crazy stuff happen to me over the years and I know there are more to come. I wish I didn’t have arthritis at the age of 30, but I do. I have mild eczema, dry eyes, anemia, fertility problems and have had some crazy skin problems over the years.

“I want you to know that although Crohn’s has already taken so much from me, that it will never steal who I am. Living with Crohn’s disease, you learn to love in the mindset that you have control of very little of the life you live in. The drugs and diet control you. I try my best every day so I don’t feel or act like it is stealing any more from me than it has already.
I am blessed I am still here to enjoy life with my family and friends. Please spread the word and share the commonly hidden invisible disease. Thank you and god bless! ”

Thank you to you brave survivors and thrivers out there for sharing your stories!

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Good things happening for Crohn’s, Colitis and IBD

Things are happening all around us thanks to our survivors, fighters, caregivers and advocates making a difference for folks with Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis and other forms of IBD.

We thought we’d focus on the good things happening in the digestive health world and the progress we’re making.

Dawn, Stage IV SurvivorImage may contain: 1 person, smiling, outdoor and closeup

“After fifteen years of symptoms and few answers, Dawn received a grim diagnosis: stage IV colorectal cancer at age 36. Yet she fought and became, as she says, the ‘luckiest of the unlucky’—a survivor. Today Dawn joins us in fighting to ensure other young people and doctors don’t miss the symptoms of young-onset colorectal cancer, advocating for awareness through our Never Too Young Advisory Board. The board is made possible by our amazing supporters, including those who give by shopping through our Amazon Smile page: http://smile.amazon.com/ch/86-0947831.”

 

Updates from the Michigan Chapter of Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation

IBD Awareness Breakfast in Traverse CityImage may contain: 7 people, people smiling, people sitting

“During Crohn’s & Colitis Awareness week, the Michigan Chapter staff, volunteers and Dr. Peter Higgins participated in an awareness breakfast about IBD. Many thanks to Representatives Alexander and Love for their sponsorship of the Awareness Week proclamation and to the legislators that took time out of their day to visit. And of course none of this would have been possible without the support of our families from the Lansing area and Traverse City. Thank you for your time that day!”

Webinars

“Couldn’t join us for our IBD Awareness Week Educational Webinars? You can now watch the recordings online. Topics include: Diet & Nutrition; Stress Management; IBD Wellness; and Disability Accommodations. Watch them here:http://bit.ly/2jyyKg0

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The Fight for Step Therapy by Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, suit“We’re in Boston today testifying in support of step therapy reform in Massachusetts! Thank you to the IBD patients and physicians who are bravely telling lawmakers how the insurer practice of step therapy, or “fail first,” puts patient care on the back burner while insurance companies reap extra profits. Their powerful stories of debilitating physical, mental, and financial health will hopefully encourage legislators to pass S.551 and H.492.

“Interested in becoming an advocate in locally or nationally? Sign up for our Advocacy Network:http://bit.ly/2C4yc4Q

Keep up the good work, and thank you for continuing the fight!

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More reasons to get a colonoscopy

Image result for get screenedEveryone over the age of 40 is aware of the “dreaded” colonoscopy. But really – we promise – it’s not that scary. Most folks say that the prep is the hardest part while the procedure is a breeze. If you’re still not convinced, having a colonoscopy is the single most effective way of detecting and preventing colon cancer, which is in the top three cancers in the United States. So just do it!

Here’s a bit more info about the procedure and why you should take the plunge.

Get screened if…

Most medical professionals agree that screening should start somewhere between the ages of 40 and 50 (check with your doctor to learn what they recommend), but if you have any symptoms, family history, or are of African descent, the sooner you’re screened, the better.

What are the symptoms?

If you’ve had any changes in your bowels, or experience regular diarrhea, constipation, or bleeding, you could be at a higher risk. Abdominal pain, weakness, weight loss and fatigue are also commonly associated with polyps and colon cancer.

Genetic testing

Most insurance companies will cover genetic testing to better determine your risk level. The Colon Cancer Alliance offers this super fast quiz to see where you stand.

Colonoscopy prep tips

Some medical professionals say that certain dietary tweaks, such as avoiding meat in the week before, can really help with your entire prep experience. Also chill the beverage to ease the flavor and use a straw to help it flow. And if you enjoy grape soda, don’t choose grape flavored prep – that could ruin your beloved pop after the procedure.

Still not convinced?

If the idea of a colonoscopy is just too much for you to handle, your doctor might be able to recommend other screening options. However, if you fall into the high-risk category, a colonoscopy is probably going to be your best line of defense.

The bottom line

Tell your doctor if anything has changed in your bowels – and don’t be embarrassed. Colon cancer is 100% preventable if you’re screened early and often.

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Crohn’s fighters share their stories

One of our favorite things to share is the stories from folks struggling with Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis, ostomy bags, and other forms of IBD. The fight in them is such an inspiration to us that we feel compelled to share their strength to continue to spread awareness and hopefully to find a cure.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standingJessica,  Clinical Psychology Ph.D. student

“I wish others knew that people with IBD (and really all patients with chronic illnesses) deal with so much more than the physical symptoms of their disease. Having a chronic illness can take a huge mental and emotional toll. This doesn’t mean that all patients with IBD have a mental illness, but some report anxiety, depression, insomnia, and difficulty coping with their illness. On a side note, I wish patients with IBD knew that it’s OK to feel this way and that seeking help from a mental health professional is not a weakness, it’s a sign of strength. You are not alone!”

 

Michelle Lynn Law

“My last link to show my fight and support”

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“My daughter 2 weeks ago at her Remicade Treatment. She has diagnosed 2 years ago 13 but We just started Remicade a year ago. Had no flares almost a year but now she’s experiencing what seems like an allergic reaction 10 minutes into the treatment last times. Been glaring since April so we are back on Prednisone Euceris. Hoping this isn’t a sign of Remicade failing.”

 

 

Kalee, NCCL Co-Chair

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing, flower, outdoor and nature“I remember everything about the phone call from my doctor- where I was standing, who I was with, and what words my doctor chose when telling me about my diagnosis. I remember hurrying inside to look up the prognosis, treatment, and what my life might look like. To be honest, I was terrified and had no idea how I’d manage my disease in college. My Crohn’s Disease has brought me to some of my lowest points both mentally and physically, but it has also given me some of my biggest triumphs.

Life throws challenges your way but the Foundation and NCCL taught me several extremely valuable lessons. The first lesson is that you are not alone. I was introduced to one of the strongest and most incredible community of supports. The second lesson is that you are bigger than your disease and that your IBD does not define you. When I found out I was selected to be a part of the National Council of College Leaders, I was over the moon and originally visualizing what I could contribute to the council but it was the council that gave me the greatest gift possible- more than I could ever repay. The Foundation and council gave me the tools and confidence to recognize sub-par aspects of patient care and access to care and to actually do something about it. I’ve spoken to legislators about healthcare reforms, worked with FDA representatives and physicians about redefining the use of medical foods, and helped create calls to action.

These steps in the right direction and the hope that future IBD patients don’t have to travel the path I did are what have gotten me through some of my toughest moments in college. Now that I’ve graduated and am transitioning out of my role as council co-chair, I am forever grateful for the opportunity to be given a voice in the IBD community, to have been a part of a council that’s helped me grow more than I ever thought possible, and to start my journey as a future healthcare provider given all that I’ve learned through the Foundation.”

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The latest in digestive health news

Image result for digestive health graphicSo much is happening in the world of digestive health. Clinical trials and research are revealing new trends and treatments all the time; fundraisers are happening across the country; more people are learning about the risks and working to prevent colon cancer.

Here are a few interesting things happening in the digestive health world this week.

Michigan Fundraiser – Golf Fore Guts Silent Auction

If golfing isn’t your thing, you can still support this Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation initiative through their silent auction. You’ll find all sorts of signed sports memorabilia and even an in-home wine tasting for 12 of your favorite people.

“The 5th Annual Golf Fore Guts silent auction is open! Bidding will close at 5pm on Sunday, August 13th. You do not have to be present to win. Click the link below to see the list of silent auction items like a Miguel Cabrera signed baseball and TaylorMade golf drivers. To register click the Sign In button on the website or text fore17 to 24700. Happy Bidding!”

Dating with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Sahara Fleetwood-Beresford shares with The Mighty her and many others’ struggle to date with various forms of IBD – something that folks with healthy guts might not even think of. As if dating isn’t difficult enough, having the added pressure of numerous bathroom trips, frequent fatigue, or wearing an ostomy can create some obstacles that make dating seem unworthy.

“It is small things like this that could affect even the early on stages of dating that I like to get off my chest sooner rather than later. That way, it will soon become clear apparent whether there is any compatibility. These may be small things, but they occur regularly and could present a problem in terms of the outlook for the relationship.”

Read the rest of her heartfelt, honest, and eye-opening blog on The Mighty.

Colon Cancer Rates Rising in Younger White Folks

In the United States, the black population has faced historically higher rates of colon cancer than any other ethnic group. However, the recent rates of colon cancer have increased in the white population – especially in those under 50. This presents a problem since most doctors agree that screening for colon cancer and other digestive issues isn’t necessary until the age of 50 for most. Those with a family history of the disease are encouraged to get screened earlier, but if you’re not aware of your history, you’re at a higher risk.

” The number of whites being diagnosed with colorectal cancer and their mortality rates are rising, even as blacks are seeing a decline in both categories,” says Kaiser Health News. “Despite those declines, however, blacks still have higher rates of death from the disease.”

So while the community is rallying to make sure people are taking as many preventive measures as possible, it might be time to look at the age in which we’re doing so.

The best way to protect yourself is to learn your family history, get to the doctor, and to be open to as many preventive methods as possible.

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Women’s Health Week: Colon cancer isn’t just for men

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From May 14 – 20, the Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, works to raise awareness around and provide recommendations for women’s health.

The mission of this initiative is to “Provide national leadership and coordination to improve the health of women and girls through policy, education, and model programs.”

Although there are several issues that primarily affect women – cervical, ovarian and breast cancers, mammograms, osteoporosis – women also face risks with digestive issues. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Colon Cancer are just a few of the health concerns of which Women’s Health Week works to increase awareness.

And while the risk for colon cancer is slightly lower in women than in men, almost 5% of women will face a diagnosis this year alone. However, those risks have been decreasing steadily over the past several decades, due almost exclusively to advanced screening capabilities and treatment options.

But we’re not out of the woods just yet: Colon cancer is still the third leading cause of cancer deaths in women in the United States.

“The old message was that colon cancer was a man’s disease. We have to be careful not to regress in our message to women.” says Sidney J. Winawer, MD, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, to MedPage Today.

So what can women do? Two words: Get screened.

Advancements in technology, research and treatment are only good if we actively opt to utilize them. Most medical professionals recommend that women start their regular colonoscopies at age 50. However, if you have a family history of the disease, or other potential factors such as obesity, smoking and certain ethnicities, your doctor may recommend an earlier start.

For more information on women’s health issues, and National Women’s Health Week in general, WomensHealth.gov. There, you’ll find out how you can get involved, and a comprehensive list of topics that affect women’s health, with information and additional resources for each.

Call to book your colonoscopy today. And remember, screening saves!

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Better colonoscopy prep in the works

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Colonoscopy is by far the best way to detect and prevent digestive issues such as colon cancer.

Oh, the colonoscopy. Although it’s the most effective way to detect and thereby prevent colon cancer and other digestive issues, some people are still reluctant to commit to the procedure. Ask just about anyone who’s endured the quick and painless process, and they’ll tell you that the prep is the most difficult part.

Reports the Chicago Tribune: “Data suggest that about 40 percent of the people who should get a colonoscopy don’t, mostly because of the prep,” says Douglas Rex, a distinguished professor of medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine.

A typical colonoscopy involves drinking lots and lots of not-so-tasty liquids followed by lots and lots of trips to the toilet. Nothing is going to change in the toilet department, but the liquids are getting a face lift.

Researchers are experimenting with flavored shakes and bars such as strawberry banana or coconut that have the same effect as the historically dreaded liquid.

“Those drinking the new products were twice as likely as those who used the standard prep solution to be satisfied and four times as likely to recommend it,” says the Tribune.

The products should be available to patients in about two years.

The entire goal of these new prep methods is to get more people to commit to a colonoscopy, as it’s undoubtedly the number one way to detect and prevent cancer, tumors, polyps and other intestinal abnormalities.

“The easier you make it for people, the more you can improve their adherence,” says Susan Czajkowski, chief of the health behaviors research branch of the National Cancer Institute.

“The perfect screen has no value if it isn’t used.”

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Colon cancer rates on the rise in young people

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Listen to your body and be honest with your doctor. Early screening can detect and prevent complications from colon cancer.

As we continue through Colon Cancer Awareness month, our goal is to increase the conversations people have about the disease. Knowing that screenings are by far the most effective way to detect colon cancer early can even work to prevent it altogether.

An unfortunate trend in the fight against colon cancer is a spike in the amount of young people diagnosed. Formerly considered a disease reserved for older men, this new uptick in folks under 40 is disturbing but also mostly unexplained.

“People born in 1990 have twice the risk of colon cancer and four times the risk of rectal cancer as people born in 1950 faced at the same age,” says CBS New York.

For people of an average risk, the standard age to begin screening for colon cancer is 50. The only problem with that guideline is that younger folks are getting missed, often until it’s too late.

While the medical community struggles to pinpoint the cause of the surge, many speculate that changes in lifestyle and diet are to blame.

“Prime suspects include obesity, inactivity and poor diets,” said researchers from the American Cancer Society.

In other words, the behaviors we know are bad for us, and cause health issues across the board, are the likely culprit in the uptick in colon cancer.

While the statistics are alarming, the overall rates of colon cancer in younger people is still low. But that doesn’t mean there’s no lesson in this – be your own health advocate. Listen to your body and work with your doctor to pinpoint when something is wrong.

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