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Digestive Health Blog

Colon Cancer Awareness Month – 2021 March

Colon Cancer Awareness Month – 2021 March

March is colon cancer awareness month. Each year my practice participates in promoting awareness for this treatable cancer by participating in local events and creating content that helps educate others on how to prevent and beat colon cancer.

As we’re in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to emphasize the importance of not putting off necessary health maintenance services like colon cancer screening or not seeking an evaluation for digestive symptoms. The key to beating this cancer is early detection. When detected in a localized stage (has not spread outside of colon or rectum), the 5-year survival rate is 91%.

2021 colon cancer awareness month w/ blue ribbon. colon cancer is preventable, treatable and beatable

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Colon Cancer: A Growing Problem in Young Adults

Colon Cancer: A Growing Problem in Young Adults

You may think of colon cancer as a disease that affects older adults. This is not always the case. There is a growing problem of colon cancer in young adults. The media recently shined a light on this problem after the death of actor Chadwick Boseman from colon cancer at age 43.

Colon cancer is a leading cause of death throughout the world. Young adults are not immune to this deadly cancer.

Throughout my career thus far, I have unfortunately diagnosed colorectal cancer in many young adults. Many of them had been having symptoms but were not sure what to make of them. It is important to shed light on this topic and get people thinking and talking about the importance of early diagnosis and treatment. When colon cancer is diagnosed early, it can be beaten.

This article will discuss the increasing trend of colon cancer in young adults. I’ll first highlight colon cancer statistics and the potential causes of colon cancer in young adults. I’ll then explore how you can reduce your risk by modifying colon cancer risk factors. Lastly, I’ll discuss colon cancer symptoms, so you know when to see a gastroenterologist.
colon cancer is no longer a 50+ disease

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Probiotics – Are They Right for Me?

Probiotics – Are They Right for Me?

Deciding whether or not you should be taking probiotics can be a confusing subject. From diarrhea and constipation to clearer skin and immune benefits, they have been touted as being useful for a wide variety of issues. When you combine that with all the talk of keeping a healthy gut and microbiome, it can be easy to assume you should be taking a probiotic daily.

Although I do not feel that probiotics are the answer to everyone’s health conditions, it’s important to understand when they can be helpful and how they could potentially enhance your health.

Before we get into if adding these strains of bacteria are the right choice for you and the science behind them, let’s begin by discussing what probiotics are and how they work.

probiotics are they right for me

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Colon Cancer Awareness Month – 2020 March

Colon Cancer Awareness Month – 2020 March

To help further promote colon cancer awareness month in the DFW area, my colleague Dr. Stuart Akerman and I have created an awareness video. In this video, we discuss how to best protect yourself from this cancer.

By watching the video you’ll learn when you should get screened for colon cancer, testing options, and a few recommendations from Plano gastroenterologists. Should you have any questions about colon cancer or your digestive health, please call my office at 972-867-0019 and we would be happy to help.

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Is Cologuard a Good Alternative to Colonoscopy?

Is Cologuard a Good Alternative to Colonoscopy?

You probably don’t think about your colon that often. Unless you’re experiencing painful or embarrassing symptoms, such as abdominal pain, gas, bloating, or diarrhea, it probably doesn’t cross your mind. But if you’re over the age of 45 it might be time to go and see your doctor about colon cancer screening – yes, even if you feel fine!

We use screening exams to look for evidence of disease in patients who show no symptoms of colon cancer – whereas we use diagnostic exams to evaluate patients already showing symptoms. If you’re dealing with a change in bowel movements, bleeding from the anus, blood in your stool, or a pain or lump in your abdomen, I recommend seeing your doctor as soon as possible for recommendations regarding diagnostic testing.

If you’re not experiencing such symptoms, screening is still important for your health. The earlier that colon cancer is detected, the better the chance of beating it. Also, by removing precancerous polyps, colon cancer can actually be prevented.

I’m going to talk you through two different colon screening options:

  1. Colonoscopy – the gold standard and the most common screening exam
  2. Cologuard – home screening test

cologuard or colonoscopy which screening test is best with blue colon cancer ribbon

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The GI Doctor’s Ultimate Guide to Fiber

The GI Doctor’s Ultimate Guide to Fiber

When dealing with gastrointestinal issues, you are asked one question over and over…

Are you getting enough fiber?

Why Does Fiber Help Digestion?

You may have heard over and over again how important fiber is for your health, but you may not understand why it has such an impact. Fiber plays a unique role in digestion it is not broken down into nutrients but instead stays intact as it makes its journey through your intestines.

A diet high in fiber can help keep your heart healthy, slow down the absorption of sugar through the gut wall, and aid in weight management. Getting enough intestinal fortitude ensures your digestive system runs smoothly. Allowing for a more comfortable pooping experience.

A GI doctor's guide to fiber with images of various fiber sources

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2019 Colon Cancer Awareness Month

2019 Colon Cancer Awareness Month

March is colorectal cancer awareness month… this year’s public awareness campaign is “Don’t Assume”. Its goal “is to challenge assumptions and misconceptions about colorectal cancer by dispelling myths, raising awareness, and connecting people across the country with information and support.”
2019 colon cancer awareness blue ribbon with text saying colon cancer isn't just a 50+ disease
In 2018, the American Cancer Society lowered their recommendation to begin colon cancer screening from 50 to 45 years of age for people of average risk. This change was due to the higher incidence of colon cancer being detected in younger adults. While this updated starting age has not been universally accepted, it does highlight the significance of getting screened.

“If you have questions about the age you should begin getting screened for colon cancer, please discuss this with your doctor. Early detection is the key to beating colon cancer!”
-Matthew Eidem

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When Do You Need To See A Doctor About Your Constipation?

When Do You Need To See A Doctor About Your Constipation?

Constipation can be disruptive and even painful. Sometimes it seems to hit from nowhere, making you more and more miserable. Or maybe you’ve been living with constipation for a couple of weeks now, but the over-the-counter stool softeners and laxatives are only a temporary fix. There’s usually a reason behind your constipation — sometimes minor, sometimes serious, so it’s a good idea to pay attention and figure out why your bowel movements have slowed down — what can it mean?

constipation know when to see a doctor message with toilet in the background

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7 Gut Healthy & Delicious Snacks for Your Summer Road Trips

7 Gut Healthy & Delicious Snacks for Your Summer Road Trips

We’re finally rolling into summertime! That means family vacations and road trips are in our near future. What that also means is eating a lot of food on the go, which is usually not so healthy for you or your gut. With this challenge in mind, I wanted to provide a little info on digestive health along with some gut healthy snack options I would recommend.

Your gut’s health is reliant on the health of the microorganisms living within it –  the gut microbiome. Optimal health of this diverse community in your digestive tract has been proven to prevent obesity, diabetes, irritable bowel disease, liver disease, chronic heart disease, cancer, and many more.

The fast foods we tend to eat on road trips can leave you feeling bloated, constipated, and even lethargic – that doesn’t sound like a gut that’s up for any fun summer activities. But, there are so many good summertime snacks you can take on the go to keep you, your kids AND your gut happy.

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Colonoscopy FAQs

Colonoscopy FAQs

Every March I like to participate in Colon Cancer Awareness month by writing an article on the importance of following the American College of Gastroenterology screening guidelines. This year I thought I would do something different by sharing a few colonoscopy FAQs to help dispel some of the misconceptions and educate on why it is best way to screen for colon cancer.

Early detection is the key to beating this cancer! If you know someone 50 years or older, make sure they know about the importance of colon cancer screening. Thank you in advance for helping to promote this awareness message and let me know if you have any questions related to colon cancer.

In health,
Matthew Eidem, MD

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