March is colorectal cancer awareness month.
What is colorectal cancer?
Colorectal or colon cancer, which affects the last six feet of the small intestines and rectum, is one of the most common type of cancer in Canada.
Overall, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer (men and women combined). On average, 413 Canadians will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer every week, and 171 Canadians will die of it. (source)
Are Canadian teens having sex?
Of course they are!
The latest available StatsCan report about sex, condom-use and STDs among young people in Canada was published in 2005. The study looked at youth aged 15 to 25, finding that about 62% of young people in this age category had had sex at least once in their lives. The proportion was the same among males and females, and once they began sexual activity most remained sexually active.
Of course, the older the young people were the more likely they were to have had sex: 28% of 15-17 year-olds stated they were sexually active, compared to 65% of 18-19 year-olds and 80% of 20-24 year olds. The average age at first sexual intercourse for both males and females was 16.5 years. The survey found that older people were more likely to have long-term, monogamous relationships and that youth aged 15 to 19 were more likely to have had multiple partners in the past year.
First described in 1906 by German psychologist Alois Alzheimer, Alzheimer’s disease is incurable, degenerative and fatal. It attacks the brain and it is the most common cause of dementia. It is most commonly diagnosed in people over 65, although early-onset Alzheimer’s can occur much earlier.
Over 300,000 Canadians suffer from some type of dementia, over 60% of these have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (source). The government estimates that, by the year 2031 — when most Baby Boomers will reach 60 — over 750,000 Canadians will suffer from dementia. (more Canadian statistics)
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Stress is not necessarily a negative thing: it can push you to perform better and faster than you might normally have done, leaving you with a great feeling of accomplishment. In dangerous situations, it may even extend your life. At least one study even suggests that a small amount of short-term (“acute”) stress may help boost your immune system!
Over two million Canadians are known to have diabetes. In Ontario, nearly 9% of the population – about 850,000 people – have diabetes. In Toronto alone, over 225 000 residents are diabetic. An additional 5.8 million Canadians are considered ‘pre-diabetic’. (source)
Correspondingly or coincidentally, excess body weight and obesity – known risk factors for type 2 diabetes – have been steadily on the rise, taking on epidemic proportions. Is there a link?
What are colds and flu?
A cold is a highly contagious viral infection that last about a week, but may last as long as two weeks. Symptoms of a cold can include: sore throat, runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing and cough. Sometimes, a cold may also cause conjunctivitis (“pink eye”), muscle aches, fatigue, malaise, headaches, muscle weakness, and loss of appetite. Rhinoviruses cause most common colds, although other viruses can cause them as well. Colds usually last about a week, but symptoms may last for as long as two weeks.
According to an article in the Toronto Star dated July 4, 2008, over 463 elderly patients have died of c. difficile in Ontario hospitals in the past 30 months. This and other coverage has prompted a flurry of concern around this issue.
What is c. difficile ?
Toronto Public health defines clostridium difficile as:
“bacteria found in feces that can cause diarrhea and more serious intestinal conditions such as colitis (inflammation of the colon), sepsis (disease-causing bacteria or toxins are found in the bloodstream and tissues) and even death.”