for your health
By Shelley Lawson
IF YOU’RE LIKE most people, you don’t like to talk
about your digestive system. But did you know
that colon cancer is the second-leading cause of
cancer death? According to its most recent data,
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) found that 38 percent of people diagnosed
with colorectal cancer died from it.
The good news is that regular screening can
prevent colon cancer from starting. Screening
detects growths on your colon (called polyps) so
they can be removed before they turn into cancer.
Anyone can get colon cancer, but your risk
increases significantly after the age of 50. Other
factors that increase your chances of colon cancer:
• A personal or family history of inflammatory
bowel disease such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s
• Smoking is a well-known cause of lung can-
You can prevent colon cancer
cer, but swallowing the cancer-causing substances
in cigarettes also causes colon cancer.
• Being overweight increases your risk for lots
of health problems, including colon cancer.
• If your parents, siblings or children developed colon cancer or were diagnosed with precancerous polyps before the age of 60, your risk for
developing colon cancer increases. Talk to your
family members about their health history.
Precancerous colon polyps or early-stage
colon cancer often don’t have symptoms; that’s
why screening is so important. When you turn 50,
talk to your doctor about colon cancer screening.
If you have a family history of colon cancer, talk to
your doctor earlier. Your doctor will recommend
one of several tests proven effective at detecting
cancer or polyps.
• Fecal occult blood tests look for hidden blood
in your stool, which could be an early sign of polyps
or cancer. These tests are done once per year.
• Colonoscopy is a visual observation of your
colon by a gastroenterologist. This test requires
you to clean your colon the day before the test.
Polyps can be removed during this procedure. If no
polyps are found, you don’t need another colonoscopy for 10 years.
• Sigmoidoscopy is a visual observation of half
your colon by a specially trained doctor. This test
also requires a clean colon. If nothing is found, you
don’t need another one for five years.
Many state and local health departments are
working with the CDC to get the word out about
the importance of colon cancer screening. Many
of these health departments also have programs
to help uninsured people gain access to colon
cancer screening. Go to www.cdc.gov for a list
of participating health departments. C
Costco member Shelley Lawson is a project
manager for Public Health–Seattle & King County
in Washington State.
Dry Eye Awareness Month
JULY IS DRY EYE Awareness
Month. According to the
National Women’s Health
Resource Center (NWHRC),
dry eye syndrome is one of
the most common eye-related
complaints in the U.S., affecting nearly 21 million people. It
can affect men and women at
any age, and is common over
the age of 40. Postmenopausal
women are frequently susceptible, possibly due in part to
The cause of dry eyes var-
ies. For some people, the cause
is an imbalance in the composi-
tion of their tears. With others,
not enough tears are produced
to keep their eyes comfortably
lubricated. Eyelid problems,
medications and environmental
factors—heat, dryness, wind,
high altitudes, smoke—can also
lead to dry eyes.
Blurred vision, often
worsening late in the day
For more information, visit
the NWHRC website www.
Costco carries Systane®
Ultra Lubricant Eye Drops
at all locations.
The suggested daily dosage
of PreserVision Lutein Formula
—one gel tab twice a day—
sur-passes the daily requirement,
delivering 10 mg of lutein. C
Teresa Thompson Pharmacy Buyer
IN 2001 BAUSCH & LOMB
participated in a nationwide
National Eye Institute clinical
trial that concluded that using
high levels of antioxidants and
zinc significantly reduces the
risk of age-related macular
degeneration (see story on page
29)—the leading cause of blindness in the U.S. among people
65 years old and older.
The Bausch & Lomb formula
used in that study proved clinically effective. PreserVision®
Eye Vitamin Lutein Formula
is a reformulated version that
replaces the beta carotene in
the original with lutein.
Lutein is an antioxidant
pigment naturally found in the
macula—the area of the eye
responsible for central vision.
Lutein acts as a
filter to protect
to the macula
from blue light
in the visible
People are born
with a certain
of lutein in their
eyes, but the
It is present in the highest
quantity in leafy dark green vegetables such as spinach and kale,
but you’d have to eat more than
two bowls of raw spinach every
day to get the recommended 6
mg minimum daily dose of lutein.
Likewise, taking a multivitamin
delivers only a fraction of the recommended amount.