Colon Cancer Screening

What is Colon Cancer?

Colon cancer starts as a small “polyp” (like a skin-tag) inside a person’s colon wall. Over time, the polyp can grow into colon cancer. This is a slow process. It can take many years to develop. We generally screen for polyps and colon cancer between the ages of 50 to 74 because that is when most people tend to develop them.

You may wish to explore this website to learn more.

The short video below helps to explain colon cancer:

There are two main ways to screen for colon cancer:

(i) a Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT)

(ii) a Colonoscopy

Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT):

This is a stool test that you can do in privacy of your own home. It tests for microscopic blood in your bowel movement (blood you cannot even see with your eyes). If there is an early cancer in your colon, it may be shedding off tiny amounts of blood, and this test can help detect it and prompt further investigation (by getting a colonoscopy). This is a quick, easy, and painless test.

There are some problems with this FIT test, though. It is not as accurate as a colonoscopy. It can miss about 50% (HALF) of early colon cancers. However, if you do the test every two years, the accuracy is better and it picks up most most of the early cancers. The FIT is also not good at picking up the polyps (the early growths that turn into colon cancers). Unfortunately, the FIT test misses 70-75% of polyps.

Another problem with the FIT is that it cannot distinguish the source of the bleeding. For example, a bleeding hemorrhoid or even a bleeding stomach ulcer can cause the test to come back positive for blood.

For detailed information about the FIT test, check out this website.

The following video demonstrates how to do the FIT test at home:

Colonoscopy:

You may know of friends or family who have had colonoscopies. Basically, you take a strong laxative the day before the procedure to totally clean out your bowel. You then go into the hospital for the procedure (but you are in and out the same day). They give you medications to doze you off, so you do not remember or feel anything, and then they go up inside your bottom end with a scope (which is basically a small video camera on the end of thin a flexible hose). From there, the doctor can directly see inside your colon wall and can see if there are any cancers or polyps. If they see a polyp, they can remove it right then and there before it ever turns into a cancer.

The colonoscopy is a better test in that the doctor can actually directly see inside your colon. It is more accurate and can catch early polyps before they ever even turn into a cancer. However, it is much more invasive and it does carry a very tiny risk of complication of popping through the bowel wall and requiring an operation to fix it (about 1 in 1000 to 1 in 10,000).

WHAT TEST SHOULD YOU GET?

If you have a direct family history (parents, siblings, or children) of colon cancer or even polyps, then you should get a colonoscopy. Remember to ask your family if they have had colonoscopies, what were the results? Even if it was “normal”, did they have any polyps? If so, you will need a colonoscopy.

If you do not have a family history, then there is really no correct answer. Each test has its pros and cons, and it is whichever you prefer.

Book an appointment to Franklin Medical Centre and discuss options!

Avoid Heat Stroke

“What do I do on these hot and humid days? How do I avoid heat stroke?”

First make sure that you know the warning signs. Do you have pale skin, fatigue, weakness, dizzy or nauseous, sweating profusely, rapid pulse, fast or shallow breathing, or muscle weakness or cramps.

If you experience any of these symptoms, get out of the heat quickly and rest in a cool, shady place. Drink lots of water or other fluids containing sugar and salt. Do NOT drink alcohol; that can make it worse. If you don’t feel better within half an hour, contact Dr. Takhar at 519-620-7044. If heat exhaustion isn’t treated, it can progress to heat stroke.

If you have any of the following symptoms go to the hospital or call 9-1-1 – these symptoms include skin that feels hot and dry, but not sweaty, confusion or loss of consciousness, throbbing headache, frequent vomiting, shortness of breath or trouble breathing. It is so important to get treatment. Heat stroke can be deadly.

Here are a few general tips to follow to avoid getting heat stroke:
1) Make sure that you don’t overexert yourself.
2) Drink a lot of water, even if you aren’t feeling thirsty. But avoid drinking caffeine and alcohol – those will speed up dehydration!
3) Wear loose clothing light in colour and fabric, as well as a hat and sunblock, and stay in the shade or indoors if possible.
4) Open up your windows and use fans, or turn on the air conditioning. If you don’t have air conditioning, you can go to a public place that does, like a Cambridge Centre mall, or the Cambridge Library, or a movie theater.
5) Be a good neighbour – check on the elderly and chronically ill persons regularly to make sure they’re bearing up under the heat.

We hope you enjoy the summer and stay hydrated!

-Dr Takhar

Diabetes – Understand, Monitor, Manage and Stay Healthy

What happens when the food that we eat doesn’t fuel our body the way it should? It could be diabetes. It prevents the body from processing food into the fuel we need to function everyday and it can occur on just any one. But family history body weight and age can play a role too.

There are two major types of diabetes: Type 1 diabetes known as juvenile diabetes mostly appears in children adolescents and young adults.

Type 2 diabetes with vast majority of cases on the rise and is rapidly becoming an epidemic. The main reason for this is because of the increase in overweight children and obesity in adults.

Now let us know how diabetes work inside the body. The food we eat is broken down into certain nutrients including sugar called glucose which is the main source of energy for the body. Glucose is carried in the blood stream to all the cells so that it can nourish them but glucose cannot pass into the cells without the help of hormone called insulin. Insulin is created in the pancreas which is a gland located behind the stomach. The liver also plays a big role by removing excess glucose from the bloodstream and storing it for later use.

For type 1 diabetic the body do not create any or not enough insulin and thus their bodies develop high level of glucose in their blood.

For type 2 diabetics disease begins in adulthood when their cells develop a resistance to insulin and so sugar doesn’t get into the cell. Typically this resistance triggers the pancreas to create more insulin to handle the rise in blood sugar but overtime in some people the pancreas tires out and slows the production of insulin or even stops producing altogether.

The primary symptom of both types of diabetes is thirst and frequent urination. Essentially the body need water to filter excess glucose from the blood. Other symptoms of diabetes include weight loss, blurred vision and fatigue. Sometimes these warning signs become apparent after few years.

There are great treatments of diabetes and best if you catch them early. If untreated, diabetes could cause major problems including kidney damage, increase risk of heart attack, stroke, amputation, blindness, coma and even death.

Following some careful diabetes care can reduce your risk of seriousness and even life-threatening complications.

1. Commit yourself to manage your diabetes.
The doctor, nurse and dietitian, will help you learn the basics of diabetes care and offer support and encouragement along the way. But it’s up to you to manage your condition. Make healthy eating and physical activity part of your daily routine. Maintain a healthy weight. Monitor your blood sugar level, and follow your doctor’s instructions for keeping your blood sugar level within your target range. Don’t be afraid to ask for diabetes treatment help when you need it.

2. Quit smoking.
If you smoke, ask your doctor to help you quit. Smoking increases your risk of various diabetes complications, including heart attack, stroke, nerve damage and kidney disease. In fact, smokers who have diabetes are three times more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than the non-smokers who have diabetes.

3. Monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol and keep them under control.
Like diabetes, high blood pressure can damage your blood vessels. High cholesterol is a concern, too, since the damage is often worse and more rapid when you have diabetes. Such conditions lead to a heart attack, stroke or other life-threatening conditions.

Eating healthy foods and exercising regularly can go a long way toward controlling high blood pressure and cholesterol. Medication also helps in managing these.

4. Plan for yearly physical and regular eye exams.
Your regular diabetes checkups aren’t meant to replace yearly physicals or routine eye exams.
During the physical, your doctor will look for any diabetes-related complications — including signs of kidney damage, nerve damage and heart disease — as well as screen for other medical problems.
Your eye care specialist will check for signs of retinal damage, cataracts and glaucoma.

5. Keep your vaccines up to date.
High blood sugar can weaken your immune system, which makes routine vaccines more important than ever. Ask your doctor about: flu, pneumonia, hepatitis B and other vaccines which are right for.

6. Take care of your teeth.
Diabetes may leave you prone to gum infections. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss your teeth once a day, and schedule dental exams at least twice a year. Consult your dentist right away if your gums bleed or look red or swollen.

7. Pay attention to your feet.
High blood sugar can damage the nerves in your feet and reduce blood flow to your feet. Left untreated, cuts and blisters can lead to serious infections. To prevent foot problems: Wash your feet daily in lukewarm water, dry your feet gently, especially between the toes, moisturize your feet and ankles with lotion, check your feet every day for blisters, cuts, sores, redness or swelling, consult your doctor if you have a sore or other foot problem that doesn’t start to heal within a few days.

8. Take regular Medications
Taking insulin or other diabetes medication regularly is an important part of staying healthy with diabetes. Find out about diabetes drugs, insulin, drug interactions, side effects, and more. Also aspirin reduces your blood’s ability to clot. Taking a daily aspirin can reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. Ask your doctor whether daily aspirin therapy is appropriate for you, including which strength of aspirin would be best.

9. If you drink alcohol, do so responsibly.
Alcohol can cause low blood sugar, depending on how much you drink and whether you eat at the same time. If you choose to drink, do so only in moderation and always with a meal. Remember to include the calories from any alcohol you drink in your daily calorie count.

10. Reduce stress and have a happy life.
If you’re stressed, it’s easy to neglect your usual diabetes care routine. The hormones your body may produce in response to prolonged stress may prevent insulin from working properly, which only makes matters worse. To take control, set limits. Prioritize your tasks. Learn relaxation techniques.

Get plenty of sleep.

Above all, stay positive. Diabetes care is within your control. If you’re willing to do your part, diabetes won’t stand in the way of an active, healthy life.

Choosing the pharmacy that’s right for you

Choosing a pharmacy is a very important decision.

Franklin Pharmacy offers exceptional service and is dedicated to helping clients achieve great health and wellness.

There are a lot of things to take into consideration when deciding on what pharmacy is best for you.

Is the pharmacy available? Consider the location of the pharmacy. You want to ensure that you can get to the pharmacy easily. Also consider the pharmacy’s hours.

Insurance. It’s important to make sure your pharmacy accepts a wide variety of insurance plans, including the one you have.

Over the counter products. Make sure your chosen pharmacy provides over the counter products in addition to prescriptions. This will make things easier when your pharmacist suggests a product as well as a prescription.

Service. Your pharmacist should offer personalized service, and should be happy to offer advice and assistance when needed.

Franklin Pharmacy may be the pharmacy you’re looking for. Contact us today at 519-629-3857 for more information!

Hope for Chronic Migraine sufferers

A Migraine is more than just a headache. It can be a debilitating condition which has a considerable impact on the quality of life of sufferers and their families. Attacks can be completely disabling,Migraine Suffer Botox forcing the sufferer to abandon everyday activities for up to 3 days. Even in symptom-free periods, sufferers may live in fear of the next attack.

Despite the fact that 1 in 4 households in Canada have someone affected by migraine headaches, a migraine is still not considered by many employers to be a legitimate medical problem. A Migraine, however, can cause significant disability and costs the Canadian work force 7 million workdays each year!

Traditionally migraine sufferers who have been correctly diagnosed have been treated with medications. In addition to this physiotherapy, massage, pain injections and other modalities do help. However recently Health Canada approved another tool that can be very helpful for treating chronic migraines. Botox® (onabotulinum toxin A) was licensed specifically for the treatment of chronic migraine recently by Health Canada.

Dr Takhar’s Cosmetic Clinic has had great luck with this treatment option. “Over the years, we have had many many women who were having Botox to soften lines on their face reporting the pleasant side effect of their migraines being significantly reduced” says Dr Deepa Takhar. “So I was not surprised that Health Canada gave the approval as all of us doctors had seen it work in practice”.

Botox has been used for over a decade for cosmetic purposes and for other medical reasons such as hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) and eye problems. With its approval for migraine treatment it will be a significant relief and cost saving for patients. “Currently all insurance companies cover the cost of the drug , which is good as it can run into thousands of dollars” says Natalie, the Clinic head nurse. “And even if you have no coverage, the product for a trial treatment is provided at no cost”.

In the past, patients that had their lines treated noticed that their migraine symptoms reduced, it is now reversed. When Botox is given for migraines, patients notice that their facial lines are significantly reduced. “Patients are pleasantly surprised that they look relaxed and the harshness of their lines is significantly reduced. They certainly do not look plastic or frozen” says Dr Takhar who has been doing this for many years now.

Patients do not need a referral and their family doctor will not be impacted by the visit. For a free consultation call 519 653 4490 and ask for Anamarija.

Food Lapses – “I just ate one cookie so I might as well eat the whole box”!

Have you ever succumbed to the “I just ate one cookie so I might as well eat the whole box” syndrome? Most of us become convinced that we’re hopeless, weak, or unmotivated, which makes us feel even more stuck than we were before. Indeed, we may just give up.dr-deepa-takhar-eat-cookie

Psychologists call this the abstinence-violation effect: a harsh, all-or-nothing attitude toward our behaviour. It’s paradoxical, but the more we hold ourselves to this rigid standard, the more we then abuse ourselves with the very thing we’ve outlawed! One way around this type of self-sabotage is to know in advance that, whatever it is you’ve resolved to do, somewhere along the way you’ll blow it. You won’t stick to your savings plan, you will slack off exercising, and you will let yourself get caught up in perfectionism again.

It’s not because you’re weak or undisciplined, it’s because relapse (a temporary fall back into old ways) is an inevitable part of the change process. It simply goes with the territory.

You say you’re going to change, you may even do it for a short while, but then something happens and suddenly you’re back to eating junk-food and vegging out on the couch instead of exercising. Experts refer to this as “instinctual drift:” the tendency to slip back into old patterns. Why? Because the pathway to our old behaviour still exists in our brain. Our neurons have been trained to fire in a certain way. But, be encouraged because those very neurons are enormously ‘plastic’- meaning they can generate new cells and pathways. So, as long as you keep trying to develop good behaviours of eating and exercise you will ‘train’ those neurons to respond more consistently to the way you want.

Creating a pathway to new behaviour takes mental preparation, self-awareness, and lots of practice; many brain scientists say six to nine months. (So, if you believe it takes only 30 days to create a new behaviour, think again.)

The more you understand this, the fewer negative consequences there will be when you do slip up. You won’t have to punish yourself with overindulgence just because you relapsed today. Tomorrow you can make a different choice.

Those who study change say the best thing you can do is to prepare for lapses and commit to not giving up. What is it that you want to remember when you revert to your old habit? Write it down and pull it out when you need it.

Learn to forgive yourself. This keeps us from self-punishment that actually causes us to compound the error. So, when you back-slide on a resolution (whatever it may be), just forgive yourself and move on.

Will Durant said: “Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you are going to do now and do it.”

Don’t ever give up. You CAN make positive changes that lead to a healthier lifestyle!

(Adapted from an article by M.J. Ryan in ‘Good Housekeeping’ March, 2007)

Weight Loss Tips!

A great article was passed along to us from a Florida newspaper the other week. Professional weight loss coach Brenda Deere discussed “10 Things to Learn before Starting a Weight Loss Journey,” and she touched upon some important points that I thought people might find helpful. Below, we summarized these ideas and added some of our own thoughts:

10 things to learn before starting a weight loss journey:

1. Losing and re-gaining weight numerous times can be detrimental to health and makes future weight loss and maintenance more difficult. This is a good point to remember because if you’ve lost weight in the past, realize that this time around the weight loss process might be quite different. Your body may respond differently due to age, hormones, stress levels, and numerous other factors that evolve over the course of time. Therefore, it’s important to be patient and try to find the best course of action for how your body is responding at this time.

2. It is actually easier to lose than to maintain weight loss. We tend to focus so much on LOSING weight that we forget to plan for keeping that weight off. Keeping it off is indeed the most difficult challenge. Consider the lifestyle habits you’re changing right now to be life-long; once you’ve “lost the weight,” those habits must stay with you.

3. You can be “overweight” and still be healthy. There is no such thing as “ideal weight”…we must find the “best weight” that we can sustain in good health while maintaining an enjoyable lifestyle.

4. You have to be “READY” to lose the weight. “Ready” means different things to different people. Think about what YOUR state of “ready” means.

5. Never use the word “DIET” because going “ON” a diet implies, even if subconsciously, that one day you will be able to go “OFF” the diet. Use the phrase “LIFESTYLE CHANGE” instead. This point is of utmost importance because unless we change our lifestyle, we have no hope of maintaining our weight loss long-term.

6. Consider the emotional issue/issues that may have led you to overeat in the first place. Mental awareness is a key factor when it comes to changing our habits.

7. Binging and emotional eating can be placed into the “addiction” category. There are many physiological responses to certain foods (i.e. sugar and starchy carbohydrates) that mimic the response to drugs and alcohol. Know that there may be a physical reason your body is driving you to crave certain foods, and trust that when you eliminate those trigger foods, the cravings will subside.

8. Many people who lose weight will still see their “old” self in the mirror. Body image is a major problem for most people, especially women. Those who have been overweight most of their lives have that image ingrained into their subconscious minds. This can sabotage long-term maintenance of weight loss, and it’s important to be aware of this phenomenon during the weight loss phase. Take the time every day to either write down or voice to yourself the positive physical and emotional changes you’re experiencing, as well as the positive physical and emotional changes that you WANT to experience as this journey continues.

9. Make sure you are getting enough sleep. Lack of sleep, even if you aren’t “tired,” can prevent the body from letting go of weight.

10. Weigh yourself no more than once a week. Body weight fluctuates day-to-day and hour-to-hour. This is difficult for some of us because we get so used to jumping on the scale every morning, or for some people, up to 4 times a day! We must realize that fluid fluctuations can make the scale jump 3-4 pounds sometimes, and these fluid fluctuations are affected by weather, stress, salt intake, lack of sleep, illness, medication, etc.

With these ideas in mind, think about how you want to approach your weight loss journey. Know that there WILL be obstacles, but you can always get back on track if something throws you off.

You CAN achieve your goals. Never give up!

With you every step of the way,

Dr Takhar and Natalie


Want to lose weight? Call us for a free consultation!

Visit our website or call 519-653-4490!