Sat, Mar 21, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Doctor gives tips on stool check for colorectal cancer

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

While there are many screening tests designed to catch colon cancer in the early stages, there is a simple test that everybody can do to check for symptoms of the disease, a colorectal surgeon said yesterday.

Wang Hwei-ming (王輝明), deputy director of China Medical University Hospital’s surgery department, advised people to observe their stool, which he said could tell them a lot about their intestinal health.

“There are seven things to look for: color, shape, odor, volume, the amount of time spent passing stool, how much toilet paper is used and whether the feces float or sink,” said Wang, who is also the director-general of the Taiwan Colorectal Cancer Alliance.

Ideally, feces should be golden yellow in color, shaped like a banana, odor-free with just a hint of sour smell, two to three pieces in volume, half-floating, passed within three minutes and wiped clean using less than two sheets of toilet paper, he said.

Failing to meet all seven conditions does not necessarily mean a person has colon problems, but it could indicate a dire need for a healthier, high-fiber diet to ward off colon cancer, he said.

“People with the four following types of stool should be especially vigilant for colon cancer symptoms: soft and paste-like stool, suggesting a meat-centered Western-style diet; hard excrement, indicating insufficient water consumption; mud-like feces, which are signs of a cold constitution and engorgement; and round-shaped stool, which is common to individuals who are overly stressed and lead an irregular life,” Wang said.

Wang said colon cancer has topped the list of the 10 most common cancers in Taiwan for six consecutive years, with one person affected by the disease every 37.3 minutes.

“Adopting a high-fiber diet and eating probiotics regularly are not only conducive to maintaining healthy bowel movement, but also allow good gut bacteria to help a person avoid many health problems,” he said.

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