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)
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According to a US government survey released this month, approximately 38% of US adults and 12% of US children used CAM therapies in 2007.
This 2007 survey marks the first time the National Institutes of Health have collected statistics about CAM usage among children, 1 in 9 of whom use CAM therapies. It is a rich source of information about how Americans use CAM therapies and why they use them.
The 24-page report is available for download at:
Barnes PM, Bloom B, Nahin R. CDC National Health Statistics Report #12. Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adults and Children: United States, 2007. December 10, 2008.
While the 2007 report reveals that overall use of CAM therapies among adults is similar to the 2002 data, use of some specific CAM therapies (such as deep breathing, meditation, massage therapy, and yoga) has increased significantly.
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.”
Listeria (Listeria monocytogenes) is a bacterium commonly found in soil and water, and in domestic animals. It can be responsible for a relatively uncommon but serious food-borne illness called listeriosis or listeria infection.
Listeriosis is caused by eating food contaminated with the bacteria. Types of food commonly contaminated by listeria include dairy products, fish, meat, and vegetables. Contamination can occur at any point in the farming, distribution, and food preparation process.
Toronto Public Health recently issued a factsheet recommending that teens and young children limit their cell phone usage. (CBC news article)
The reason for the advisory is the growing evidence linking the radio frequency (RF) energy emitted by the devices to the development of brain tumours with prolonged exposure. WiFi antennas and devices raise similar concerns. To date, this is the only specific Canadian recommendation with regard to cell phone use by children.
This is a very controversial health topic, with Health Canada and the World Health Organization both weighing in on the “not all that harmful” side of the equation, neither recommending any specific precautions or exposure limits.