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Politics & Our Health | Colon Cancer Screening Guidelines Questioned

From eNewsletter 12/2/2019

COLON CANCER SCREENING GUIDELINES QUESTIONED

Bonnie and Steve: For the first time, a guideline recommends that screening for colorectal cancer should not be routinely recommended for all adults aged 50 to 79 years, but instead should be limited to individuals with an elevated level of risk.


The new guideline, from an international panel of experts publishing in British Medical Journal, goes against the grain. At present, many countries recommend routine screening for all older individuals, and recently some groups have even lowered the starting age to 45 years, regardless of individual risk.


The new recommendations apply to men and women age 50 and over with no prior screening, no symptoms of colorectal cancer, and a life expectancy of at least 15 years. The cumulative risk of developing bowel cancer over the next 15 years ranges from 1% to 7% for most people considered in the new guideline.


Screening is not recommended when cumulative risk is below 3%.


Gender as a risk factor came under new scrutiny as two new studies reported a reduction in colorectal cancer mortality and incidence with sigmoidoscopy screening in men, but only a small or no reduction in women. 


Risk calculation (over 15 years) can be made using this free online QCancer calculator, advises the panel.


Ultimately, they suggest that the optimal choice for each person requires shared decision-making between you and your health professionals.


ARE WE MAKING OURSELVES SICK OVER POLITICS?

Steve: According to a first-of-its-kind survey from PLOS One, we're making ourselves sick over politics.


Nearly 40% of Americans surveyed for the study said politics is stressing them out, and one in five are losing sleep. One in five reported fatigue. 4% said they've had suicidal thoughts because of politics. That translates into 10 million adults.


Among the other findings:

-20% have damaged friendships because of political disagreements

-11.5% reported politics had adversely affected their physical health

-31.8% said exposure to media outlets promoting views contrary to personal beliefs had driven them crazy

-29.3% said they've lost their temper as a result of politics1 in 5 say differences in political views have damaged a friendship

-22.1% admit they care too much about who wins and who loses

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