Archive for January, 2011
The CCAC picture vault has been opened, and we want to share this phenomenal event with you! Better late than never, no?
The Giant Colon Tour made its stop in Oshawa, ON in May of 2010. Check out the pictures below!
Interested in having The Giant Colon educate, inform and inspire your coworkers or employees? Our interactive exhibit is available for corporate events! Email our National Exhibits Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (La Société canadienne de physiologie de l’exercice) released its first new physical activity guidelines in over a decade, and their new lower minimum exercise suggestions have raised a few eyebrows.
For adults 18 to 64, the Guidelines now recommend a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity aerobic activity per week and further muscle or bone-strengthening activities using major muscle groups at least twice per week.
For adults 65 and better, the Guidelines are about the same: a minimum of 150 minutes, with extra emphasis put on enhancing balance for those with poor mobility.
Wondering where these guidelines come from? The CSEP’s webinar notes explained that they arrived at the guidelines after getting input from stakeholders including over 1000 Canadian and international fitness, health, medical and education professionals, in addition to various partner organizations.
So, do we really require less exercise than we did in the past decade? Not at all, according to the group.
For starters, the Physical Activity Guidelines are meant to be minimum targets for time spent on healthy activities- and the group hopes that making the minimum guideline goals more realistic will inspire more sedentary Canadians to get active. As they point out in their webinar notes, “Having guidelines that are unattainable to the vast majority of the population risk disenfranchising those who would benefit most from an increase in physical activity.”
Among those benefits, of course, is a lowered risk for developing colorectal cancer!
Learn more about the Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology at their site here.
From left to right: Child, Youth, Adult and Older Adult Physical Activity Guidelines (will open on the CSEP site)
Member of Parliament Nadhim Zahawi got a few stern looks and chuckles when his Be Loud Be Clear novelty tie went off in the British House of Commons.
It may have caused a stir, but the cheeky slip-up also stirred up headlines for our friends at Beating Bowel Cancer and their “Be Loud Be Clear” campaign.
Being LOUD is about big, bold fashion statements- like the aforementioned tie or Beating Bowel Cancers rather eye-catching “bum shorts”– and big, loud events. We think it sounds like a blast!
Interested in getting your hands on a piece of world colon cancer history? Mr. Zahawi’s famous tie has been signed and put up for auction on ebay!
EDIT 01/20: Mr. Zahawi wrote a blog post about tie-gate!
Regardless of a person’s age, diagnosis, or sexual preference, ostomy surgery infringes on the high value society places on beauty, body, sexuality, cleanliness, and self-control. Changes to the body after ostomy surgery are not only visible to the individual who had the surgery, but also to the sexual partner… Even well informed people have difficulty making these adjustments.
The possibility of an ostomy is an oft-cited fear among newly diagnosed colorectal cancer patients, and even keeps some individuals away from getting screened for the disease. It may be difficult to believe, but some are so afraid of the possibility that they would rather subscribe to the deadly idea that “ignorance is bliss.”
Regardless of your age, gender, marital status or sexual orientation, you will continue to be a sexual being even if you join the thousands of men and women currently living with colostomies or ileostomies. That’s not to say that you won’t experience changes in your bedroom habits- and this blog post will attempt to address those changes and point you towards resources that will help you take care of your beautiful (sexy!) self.
Treating sexual dysfunction as a side effect
The sexual wellbeing of cancer patients has received increased interest from medical and psychological professionals in the past decade. Sexual dysfunction is not sexual failure– it simply means that your body is have trouble with the physiological processes that lead to arousal or orgasm. The CCAC therefore encourages you to discuss any sexual concerns in a frank, open discussion with your physician.
Afraid it will be embarrassing? Consider this: would you neglect to tell your healthcare team about physiological changes in your skin or pain in your stomach? Then why neglect to tell them about physiological changes in your genitals or pain during intercourse?
It’s difficult to fit the media’s very narrow definition of what is sexy, and many ostomates fear being altogether “banned” from feeling desirable because of their new apparatus. The taught, smooth abdomens of celebrity models don’t exactly hint at the digestive processes happening inside, do they?
Added to feelings of inadequacy are the anxieties a new ostomate experiences about the possibility of odour or leakage- neither of which are likely if the proper precautions are followed. To reduce anxiety and increase confidence during sexual encounters, the UOAA suggests:
- Emptying the pouch before engaging in sexual activity and securing with tape
- Changing to a smaller, closed-end, disposable pouch before romantic encounters
- A cummerbund or sexy lingerie-inspired cover-up if insecure about pouch visibility or if movement of the pouch is a concern
- Experimenting with personal lubricants for dryness
- Trying a variety of positions- “man on top” and “side by side” positions may be most comfortable at first.
Still not convinced that an ostomate can feel sexy? Jessica Grossman is a gorgeous model- whose ileostomy pouch is often the star of her photoshoots. She speaks about her experiences at Uncover Ostomy.
Of course, the changes aren’t just in your brain- your pelvic/abdominal region has undergone significant changes, too. During surgery, blood vessels and nerves involved in having and maintaining erections or creating natural lubrication could be damaged, and the removal of the rectum and closing of the anus may impede your ability to maintain the sexual practices you have already established.
Full communication with your partner and your doctor is the best way to manage physical sexual side effects.
A word about protection
Women with colostomies and illeostomies can get pregnant- and can produce beautiful, healthy babies with regular prenatal care. A male ostomate’s ability to reproduce may not be affected either- so adequate protection is still absolutely necessary if you are not intent on conceiving. Similarly, Sexually Transmitted Diseases don’t care if you have had an ostomy!
The United Ostomy Association of Canada can help you find more information about support groups in your area, or point you towards online groups. Find out more at www.ostomycanada.ca or contact the CCAC at 1-877-50-COLON (26566).
Intimacy After Ostomy Surgery by Gewn B. Turnbull. The full guide can be found on the United Ostomy Associations of America website here.
The Canadian Cancer Society publication Sexuality and cancer: A guide for people with cancer. It can be downloaded here.
Are you a citizen of Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Halifax or Calgary? Do you need an extra push to get out there and get fit?
The Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada is once again a proud charity partner in several runs across Canada in conjunction with the Canada Running Series and Scotiabank. I broke a sweat (and a personal record!) running in the Montreal event in 2010- if I can do it, you can too!
Contact Gail Grief (email@example.com) for more information about how you can run on a fundraising CCAC team.
Montreal: The Banque Scotia 21k de Montreal et 5k is taking place on April 17, 2011
Halifax: The Scotiabank Blue Nose Marathon is taking place on May 20 – 22, 2011
Calgary: The Scotiabank Calgary Marathon is taking place on May 29, 2011
Vancouver: The Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon & 5k is taking place on June 26, 2011
Toronto: The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is taking place on October 16, 2011
We understand- “writers block” seems inevitable when there’s hundreds of ways to spread colorectal cancer awareness- but we just know that our supporters will find one that’s right for them!
Did you know that the CCAC has a full-time Research & Education Specialist? Along with our Medical Advisory Board, this individual is a vital link between medical research and the many patients who come to our site seeking information about colorectal cancer screening, treatment and prevention. Below, you’ll find a selection of this month’s selected journal article summaries. A gift to you from our Research & Education Specialist! Click here to catch up on previous months’ selected articles.
- Testing for Kras Mutation is Helpful for Advanced Colorectal Cancer
- Phase III Trial for Davanat Begins
- New U.S. Phase I Study Involving Reolysin Opens
- Evaluating Systemic Therapy for Peritoneal Mets Using PSDSS
- Longer Intervals Between Neoadjuvant Chemoradiation and Rectal Cancer Surgery
- Delaying Chemo After Surgery is Not Beneficial
- Research Highlights Benefits of Colonoscopies
- High Endoscopy Completion Rates Tied to Fewer Missed Colorectal Cancers
- Update Provided on PillCam Colon 2
- Quality of Life of Patients Undergoing Screening
- Canadian Colorectal Cancer Survival Rates Among the Highest
- Mutation Identification Helpful in Treating Colorectal Cancer
- IBD and PSC Patients At Risk for Colorectal Cancer
- High Levels of Blood Folate Linked to Tumor Suppressors
- A Healthy Lifestyle Leads to Less Colorectal Cancer
- Consistent Exercise Can Prevent Colorectal Cancer
- Metabolic Syndrome Linked to Colorectal Cancer
- Calcium Can Help with Polyps
In memoriam: David Nelson ends his brave fight with colon cancer (October 24, 1936 – January 11, 2011)
David Nelson, the actor, director and producer best-loved for his role on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (America’s longest-running live action sitcom) has passed away due to complications from colon cancer. He was 74.
We may think of celebrities as invincible, but not even a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame can protect you from this deadly disease.
Our thoughts go out to Mr. Nelson’s family.
A large, retrospective population study has suggested that it may actually be specific prostate cancer treatments (made to lower male sex hormones) that increase a man’s risk of developing colorectal cancer.
From our December 2010 Clinical Research Update:
Men treated with gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists or surgical removal of their testicles (orchiectomy) to lower their testosterone and PSA levels experienced an increased risk of colorectal cancer of about 20 to 40%… Compared with prostate cancer patients who received no hormone treatments, those who had GnRH agonist therapy for 13 to 25 months had a 19% increase in colorectal cancer risk, those who had GnRH agonist therapy for longer than 25 months had a 31% increase in risk, and those who had orchiectomy had a 37% increase in risk (Shahinian, VB, et al., risk of colorectal cancer in men on long term androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2010 Dec.1; 102(23): 1760-70)
1. Quit smoking
If we could repeat this resolution for every number on this list, we would!
A wide range of toxic substances produced by tobacco smoke can enter the body through the saliva or blood stream and make their way down to the lining of the colon, where they can damage the cellular DNA and lead to cancer formation. Sounds like a great reason to quit to us.
Need help getting started?
Wikipedia’s article on Smoking Cessation is a good place to start, as it covers a number of methods, from the classic “cold turkey” approach to newer interventional methods.
The Lung Association of Canada offers some suggestions and methods to get you started on your smoke-free lifestyle.
The Canadian Cancer Society offers Smoker’s Helpline, a confidential and free telephone service for smokers at all stages of quitting. A trained expert can refer you to resources in your specific community, offer emotional support and help you develop a quit plan.
2. Slim down
Eating right to maintain a healthy weight in 2011 is about so much more than looking great for your August beach vacation- it’s about adding many more years to your life:
Research carried out by the World Cancer Research Fund and Leeds University in England show that excess abdominal girth, long known to increase risk of heart disease, is also a powerful risk factor for colorectal cancer. Click here to read more.
Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy foods, and fish may reduce the risk of colorectal
cancer, according to the summer 2010 study Diet Index-Based and Empirically Derived Dietary Patterns Are Associated with Colorectal Cancer Risk (Miller, Paige, et al., Journal of Nutrition, July 2010)
Remember, though, that naturally svelte folks are not exempt from eating right too! A diet low in red meat, high in colourful fruits and veggies and with a moderate intake of low-fat dairy products is our guideline for all Canadians.
Need help getting started? Check out the CCAC’s Nutritional Guidelines and this list of Canada-wide resources for healthy eating. Don’t forget to talk to your doctor about your weight-loss plan to- s/he can give you crucial guidance.
3. De-stress (By spending more time with family and friends, gaining control of your debt, taking more time for hobbies, etc)
A direct link between stress and colorectal cancer has not necessarily been proven, but stress can have a number of serious negative health and wellness effects. By not allowing yourself “time to unwind”, you could be more likely to indulge in tobacco products (see Resolution #1), overeat (see Resolution #2), and perhaps even miss critical colorectal cancer symptoms in your own body.
Need help getting started?
Take breaks from your hectic life with a new hobby. Exercise is an excellent form of stress relief! Which brings us to:
4. Start working out
It’s directly related to Resolution #2 and Resolution #3, and there is no shortage of evidence that regular exercise (at least 30 minutes, at least three times per week) can reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer- learn more by perusing scholarly journal articles here.
Patients are not exempt from this advice- though anyone undergoing treatment should consult with their oncology team before taking on a new routine. In fact, the American Cancer Society has an excellent resource you may wish to consult before your next doctor’s appointment: Nutrition and Physical Activity After Cancer Treatment.