BSB #81 Colon Cancer News

A Brand New Market for Colonoscopies
by J. Morris Hicks

No doubt you've heard the news this week about the fact that younger people are now getting colon cancer more often.

One of my very first blogs back in 2011 was about the $50 billion dollar "industry" that we have in this country whose only mission is to "screen" for colon cancer. I believe that the real mission behind that all that screening is that it provides an ideal vehicle to recruit more "patients" (customers) into the colon cancer industry. 

Here's a link to my 2011 blog, which is even more relevant today:  Screening for cancer...a very big business

Earlier this week from the NY Times:  Colon and Rectal Cancers Rising in Young People. 

How convenient is this news for the "health" care industry! It's like opening up an entire new market, consistent with the thinking behind this quote by health industry writer, Shannon Brownlee. Here's what she said in the  documentary, Escape Fire:

"We have a disease-care system, and we have a very profitable disease-care system. And the disease-care system, actually, I mean, if it really was honest with itself, it doesn't want you to die, and it doesn't want you to get well. It just wants you to keep coming back for the care of your chronic disease."

So how great is the risk? From the NY Times article, "It  is the upward trend that is worrisome: The risk of colon cancer for individuals who were born in 1990 was five per million people in that birth group, up from three per million at the same stage of life for those born in 1950."

What's Next? Instead of recommendations that your begin colon cancer screening at age 50, you will likely see that "beginning" age drop in the future to 40 or maybe even 30. And while the industry gives lip service to lifestyle factors in controlling cancer, their #1 recommendation remains: "Make sure you get your regular screenings." Two reasons:
  1. It generates revenue for the industry (about $50 billion a year in just the USA).
  2. It identifies new customers who can now start spending money on procedures and drugs.  
My question is always this, "If the risk of getting colon cancer during your lifetime dropped from 5% to 0.5%, do you still think there would be a $50 billion business (in just the USA) to screen for it? I think not.

Playing the odds If you knew that  your own  odds of getting colon cancer were less than 1%, would you have the procedure? I have chosen to "just say NO" to cancer screenings, because I believe that by eating a WFPB diet for almost fifteen years that I have greatly lowered my risk of cancer.
While this procedure may be right for millions, I decided that it was not right for me.

Another inconvenient truth to consider. There are inherent risks in the procedure itself. Apparently, about 1/2 of one percent of the time, there are serious complications (including death) resulting from the procedure. We're talking about 60,000 such cases per year. I am not willing to take that risk. 

Want to lower your risk of all chronic disease? Study the works of Campbell, Ornish, Esselstyn, Barnard and John Kelly, MD--then start maximizing the whole, plant-based foods in your diet. 

Be well, 

J. Morris (Jim) Hicks
CEO, 4Leaf Global, LLC
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