lakeswim wrote:I'm on the forum today researching for my meeting with my surgeon tomorrow. Have pelvic MR and abdomen CT today!
Anyway, I saw the above comments and feel the need to respond. I am a lifelong athlete (marathon, triathlon, masters swimmer), married to a vegetarian (so, very healthy, homemade meals and very little meat eaten here - and mostly poultry and fish), and haven't eaten red meat/pork/deli meat (or fast food, for that matter) since I was a teen. My grocery cart consists of organic veggies and fish (ok, with a few snacks thrown in for my kids) while many others are filled with processed foods and alcohol.
My point? While poor nutrition and fitness may account for some cancers, it clearly does not account for all. Frankly, I do not know how I can eat any better without going vegan (and restricting myself to no fun foods EVER). And though my energy levels have flagged in recent years, I was a picture of fitness until a few years ago. There is a big increase in CRC - esp among young people - in recent years, so there must be something else at play here. (It keeps me up at night in my own case!)
I have been told I have leaky gut (by a holistic MD) on two occasions 10 and 15 years ago. When I cleared gluten out of my diet, my symptoms disappeared. I started eating gluten again about 8 years ago with no symptoms (no symptoms like I had had before and nothing else new/obvious) and have been eating without restriction since. So, in my case, my current theory is that whatever caused my leaky gut has something to do with my cancer (or long term leaky gut caused cancer).
Eating well and being fit certainly can't hurt but is no guarantee.
Like you, I was an athlete (runner and rock climber) prior to my diagnosis. I was also a vegetarian and had no family history of any kind of cancer. On the outside I looked the picture of health, so much so that I had a hard time getting a colonoscopy for my symptoms. The last thing the gastroenterologist told me before the procedure was that I didn't need to worry because he was positive it wasn't cancer. So.... You're right. Good health habits and family history don't guarantee a cancer-free life. What bothers me is how many people assume when you have colon cancer that you lived on hot dogs and processed foods and somehow "caused" your own cancer!
Previously colorectal cancer was nearly always an older person's disease (except for Lynch and inherited forms). That's why doctors find it difficult to take younger people seriously when they come in with symptoms. Fortunately, there are smart minds trying to determine what's causing the sudden increase in the number of young people being diagnosed with colorectal cancer. The stats show the problem. For example, the risk of getting colon cancer before age 50 is now twice as high, and the risk of getting rectal cancer is four times as high, for people born in 1990 as it was for those born in 1950. That's why the ACS changed the recommendation for routine colorectal cancer screenings to start at age 45. Some gastroenterologists even recommend 40. (Eighty percent of colon cancers found in young people lie in the rectum or sigmoid colon, the lower 3 feet of the large intestine, so even a sigmoidoscopy would likely catch it.)
Personally, I worry about things like BPA and other pollutants in our water supply. But something is causing the change. Hopefully, we'll find out soon. My doctors said the good part about fit patients is they are better able to handle chemotherapy and they recovery better from surgery and have less complications afterwards. So take pride in that!