Nutrition and Healing

Beat back colon cancer between your annual screenings

Q: In a recent colonoscopy, two polyps were found, removed, and sent away for analysis. I was told that my results were “nothing to worry about but will require further follow up.” The endoscopist wants me to go for another examination in a year — but if it’s nothing to worry about, why do I need a follow-up colonoscopy? Is there anything I can do to ensure the polyps don’t return?

GR: They’re not fun to have, but regular colonoscopies absolutely save lives by helping detect cancer-causing polyps that have already formed.

Colorectal polyps are usually the first sign of colon cancer that patients (and doctors) ever notice. But sometimes, even that’s not early enough.

Fortunately, there are some natural ways to stop colon cancer in its tracks — before it even starts.

This is particularly good news if you’re a little on the older side, since colon cancer affects seniors the most. Roughly 70 percent of all colon cancer cases impact those who are 65 and over.

In one animal study, resveratrol appeared to stop colon cells from developing into cancer by preventing the formation of abnormal glands called aberrant crypt foci (ACF) in the lining of the colon and rectum. ACF can appear even before those polyps are detected.

What’s more, researchers from Saint Louis University have found that a miracle mixture of curcumin and silymarin can put the brakes on cancer cells in a lab — more so than either on its own.

The duo not only stopped the cancer from multiplying and spreading, but their one-two punch killed the cancer cells off completely!

And it wasn’t just that they used these compounds together. It actually turns out that they could kill the MOST cancer cells by using curcumin first to get those cells against the ropes, and then follow-up with silymarin for the knockout.

Curcumin is one of the most effective and versatile natural disease-fighters around. It’s the active ingredient in turmeric, the spice that adds kick to curry.

Silymarin, on the other hand, is the extract of the seeds from the milk thistle flower — and a powerful antioxidant. A 2008 study found that milk thistle was actually strong enough to fight multiple types of cancer, and it allowed patients the ability to lessen their number of sickening chemo sessions.

You can also cut your risk of colon cancer by eating nuts and getting plenty of vitamin D, but don’t start supplementing with anything without consulting your doctor first.

These supplements could save you from colon cancer, but that doesn’t mean you can avoid getting colonoscopies. Unfortunately, while whatever’s going on in the colon may be “out of sight, out of mind,” things can change rapidly.

And you do need someone to go up in there and check things out.

Any anxiety or discomfort should be discussed with your doc and technicians. There may be something they can do to make you more at ease — and if they’re not receptive to feedback, it may be time to find another care provider.

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