Orange County Seniors Consider Screening to Prevent Colon Cancer

by: Ellen Busch September 5, 2012 from Fullerton CA

Colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon and rectum) is the second leading cancer killer among men and women in the U.S. (after lung cancer).  More than 140,000 new cases of colon and rectal cancer were diagnosed in 2010 and more than 50,000 deaths were attributed to these cancers.

And yet, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that as many as 60 percent of these deaths could have been prevented with regular screenings.  

There are great resources for Seniors in Fullerton and the rest of North Orange County. If you live in Fullerton, Brea, Yorba Linda or La Habra take a look at the Council on Aging’s resource guide.  

The good news is that regular screenings can save lives. The bad news is that while many in recent years have become aware of the tests to prevent or catch the disease in its early stages, the disease’s high incidence and mortality rates would indicate that many are still avoiding them. St. Jude Heritage Medical Group specializes in diagnosing and treating colon concur. 

Colorectal cancer usually starts with polyps in the colon or rectum, abnormal but benign growths that if left untreated can turn into cancer. A painless test called a colonoscopy, performed under sedation, can help find and remove the polyps. In a colonoscopy, the doctor uses a thin, flexible, lighted tube to check for polyps or cancer inside the rectum and cancer.

The recommended guidelines call for screenings to begin at age 50 and continue every 10 years – as more than 90 percent of people with colorectal cancer are first diagnosed after age 50, with 72 the average age of diagnosis. More frequent tests may be recommended for those with a history of polyps or who have a higher risk for the disease. This would include those with a family history of colorectal cancer or a genetic disposition, a condition (such as Crohn’s) that causes inflammation of the colon, and cigarette smokers. Some studies suggest that diets high in fat (especially animal fat) and low in calcium, folate and fiber may also increase the risk. Yet, the most effective way to reduce the risk is by following the guidelines and having colonoscopy screenings.

Symptoms of colorectal cancer are often not apparent. Those that are include blood in or on your stool; persistent stomach aches or cramps; constipation or diarrhea; and loss of weight.

We are glad to refer you to a health or senior care resource.  Please call us anytime at 657-217-2273 for more information. 


Helping the Memory of Orange County Seniors

Preventing Memory Loss for Seniors living in Orange County

by Ellen Busch on August 16, 2012

Here are six things that doctors say can help seniors prevent memory loss:

  1. Keeping your brain active. Challenging your brain and mental abilities is believed to stimulate brain cells and keep your thinking sharp. This may include reading, writing, developing a new skill, or relearning old skills. Various brain games, puzzles and problem solving can help.
  2. Letting go of stress. It’s been shown that prolonged stress over many weeks can cause memory loss by altering brain chemistry and damaging the hippocampus, which is where the brain stores new memories.  Have a caregiver walk your Mom or Dad around the Brea Mall.  The weather is always nice there.
  3. Staying socially active. Relationships with other people can improve mental performance. Social activities often are intellectually stimulating, which prompts good memory function. Friends also can provide support when feeling stressed. Research has linked loneliness with an increased risk of memory loss and dementia.  The Brea Senior Center in North Orange County is a great resource for keeping Mom and Dad involved with others.
  4. Exercising regularly. This can keep blood flowing to the brain, leaving the brain cells well-nourished with oxygen and nutrients.  The Silver Sneakers Program at the Brea Fitness Center is a great place for a senior to get a workout.
  5. Staying away from smoking and alcohol. Smokers have been shown to perform worse than nonsmokers in memory studies and tests of thinking skills. Heavy alcohol use is also known to cause memory loss.
  6. Not suffering head trauma. Head trauma is one of the major causes of memory loss, and has been shown to cause dementia later in life (as shown in studies of professional football players and boxers).