Not me; I just said NO—to this $60 billion business.
Last week, the New York Times published an article about the “major colonoscopy bills” that people are facing these days. In an article of well over one thousand words (See link below), there was not a single mention of how one might work on preventing cancer instead of detecting it.
The article began by describing the nightmare suffered by a couple in Long Island when they realized that their “insurance plan” didn’t cover the anesthesiologist’s bill of $1600. From the article:
Patients who undergo colonoscopy usually receive anesthesia of some sort in order to “sleep” through the procedure. But as one Long Island couple discovered recently, it can be a very expensive nap.
Both husband and wife selected gastroenterologists who participated in their insurance plan to perform their cancer screenings. But in both cases, the gastroenterologists chose full anesthesia with Propofol, a powerful drug that must be administered by an anesthesiologist, instead of moderate, or “conscious,” sedation that often gastroenterologists can administer themselves.
At the end of the article, readers were asked to hear about their own experience with colonoscopy. Here is what I posted beneath the article, the 700th comment posted:
My experience with colonoscopy? Nada. Now 67, I made the decision long ago to take a different approach when it came to taking care of my colon. I decided to work on lowering my risk of cancer instead of routinely submitting myself to an expensive, unpleasant and sometimes risky procedure of detecting the disease.
See my disclaimer under image>
According to my calculations, our annual colonoscopy bill in the United States is $60 billion. While doing research last year for our book, I learned that the risk of dying of colon cancer is 7% in the United States. So my question is this:
If the risk of dying of colon cancer was less than 1%, would we still have a $60 billion industry to screen for it? I think not.
It’s all about the risk. If the risk goes down, there is less need for screening, and the business gets smaller. How do we make the risk go down? We have known for many years about entire cultures of people who eat mostly whole plants their entire lives—and their risk of having cancer of any kind approaches zero.
So in 2002, I shifted to a diet whereby I derive over 80% of my daily calories from whole plants. In doing so, I believe that I have greatly lowered my risk of colon cancer and all other chronic diseases at the same time. Sadly, the average American gets less than 10% of their calories from foods that Nature intended for us to eat.
Risk of injury. There is one other risk that I should mention–the risk of suffering injury or even death as a result of the procedure. According to my research, this happens over 60,000 times per year (less than 1/2 of one percent) in the USA. Some of them report for the procedure perfectly healthy and leave the clinic with a perforated colon that must be repaired. And some never leave the clinic alive.
Money. But our medical system continues to focus on detection instead of true prevention. That would mean focusing on the causes, like our toxic diet, which Dr. T. Colin Campbell says is the leading cause of cancer in the USA. But there are 30 million jobs depending on us staying sick and not much money to be made if we all suddenly attained “vibrant health.” —-J. Morris Hicks
For your convenience, here are two of my earlier posts on this subject along with a link to the full NY Times article:
- Oz shares colon story; “cancer screening $$ business” gets bigger
- Screening for cancer…a very big business
- New York Times article: Waking Up to Major Colonoscopy Bills
Want to lower your risk of all chronic disease, including all cancers? Then learn how to provide your body with natural protection by simply eating what nature intended for us to eat in the first place—whole plants.
Handy 3-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com
- The movie that’s changing the lives of millions: Forks Over Knives DVD
- Our book: Healthy Eating, Healthy World by yours truly & son
- An essential nutrition resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell
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Blogging daily at hpjmh.com…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.
—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation