Having adopted a sedentary lifestyle over the course of the past year, I was encouraged by a friend to “get my rear in gear again”. During this trek back to a healthy lifestyle, I have been blogging openly about my personal experience. To understand the role fitness and nutrition play prior to diagnosis, during treatment and post-treatment of colorectal cancer, I’ve been interviewing and sharing stories of survivors.
This month, we are proud to introduce Ask the Doctor @ Get Your Rear in Gear as a part of the “Get your rear in gear again” series. This is an opportunity for you, as blog readers, to directly ask our panel of top doctors questions associated to colorectal cancer.
Ask The Doctor @ Get Your Rear In Gear is a tremendous way for you to get the answers you need to make healthier decisions, put to rest myths, or just give you peace of mind. Click here to email your questions to our panel of doctors.
Meet Dr. Tarun Mullick
I’m delighted to introduce Dr. Tarun Mullick, who will answer some questions which originated from interviews with our survivors these last two months. Dr. Mullick was recently named “Who’s Who Top 10 Doctors in the World.”
Dr. Tarun Mullick
Medical School – Johns Hopkins
Residency — Johns Hopkins
Fellowship — Cleveland Clinic
American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Public Relations Committee
American College of Gastroenterology Practice Guidelines Committee
Co-Inventor of the Wireless Capsule Endoscope (Lead Author)
Section Editor of Gastroenterology and Endoscopy News for New Research and Clinical Breakthroughs
Q&A with Dr. Mullick
Q. Dr. Mullick, can you share with me your history with fitness and nutrition while you were growing up and where you are today?
A. Fitness and nutrition have been a huge part of my life. Since I was young, I learned early that I performed better in life, at everything, when I was regularly training and eating right. As an example, my grades were always better when I was training. Eventually, I reached the level of a professional caliber tennis player. Today, I do cardio four times a week for forty minutes usually on the elliptical or Stairmaster machines. I mix in strengthening and toning two times a week.
Q. As a gastroenterologist, what are your thoughts on the role fitness and nutrition play with prevention?
A. On a broader scale, there is no doubt that fitness can directly or indirectly decrease the risks associated to cancer, heart disease, diabetes and arthritis. This holds true for developing the disease or getting worse once diagnosed. When you are more fit, you are more in-tune to your body.
Eating healthy allows you to benefit from nutrients your body needs. For example, increasing the consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grains literally protects your cells because they contain antioxidants and photochemicals. When you mistreat the body with obesity, starvation, consumption of poor nutrients, alcohol or smoking you are making your body more accessible to disease.
Q. What role do you believe nutrition and fitness play during treatment for colorectal cancer?
A. The role of nutrition is important in the process particularly with how it supports your immune system. It is even more important to concentrate on getting the right nutrients into your system. Certainly, some patients may have issues eating certain foods – but, the goal is to make healthy calorie choices to help repair the body. With fitness, I’m a firm believer that exercise promotes healing and provides a better energy base which equals a better chance to fight the cancer.
Q. The vast majority of our survivors who write “Stories of Hope” or talk to us on a personal level seem to have adopted healthier lifestyles post-treatment and in recovery. Is this something you are seeing too with survivors?
A. Yes, I believe that survivors change their perspective on life. They often feel like they “got away with their old lifestyles!” Now, they have the chance to clean up and decrease the chance of cancer returning because of an unhealthy lifestyle. One last thing, exercise and a healthy diet promote a positive attitude which I continue to believe decreases reoccurrence.
During one of my interviews, I heard the horror story of a 33 year old mother who was passed over and over again by doctors. She was keeling over in pain, but was told there was nothing wrong with her. This woman could’ve died twenty years ago had she not accidentally run into her father’s colorectal surgeon at the hospital. Only then, was open surgery ordered where they found a tumor which was hidden. Even with family history, she was told she wouldn’t need a colonoscopy until she was fifty (this was actually better than the screening eligibility of 55). So, I have two questions from this encounter.
Q1. I continue to hear nightmare stories today of young people being passed over even when their symptoms are possible signs of colorectal cancer. What is the hope we give people who don’t fall under the guidelines?
A. More and more doctors are moving toward the right direction, but we need to continue awareness campaigns such as Get Your Rear in Gear. The government needs to help too with this campaign.
Q2. And, what are your thoughts then of lowering the age for screening?
It’s an evolution. Breast Cancer over the last twenty years has gone from one time every five years to one time every two years to one time a year. The age was lowered because of awareness and legislation.
Q. What does “Get Your Rear in Gear” mean to you as a doctor?
A. What it says to me is that the time is now for colon cancer. This [Get Your Rear in Gear] is a neat way to present ideas to Congress to activate them to understand how important this cause is – and how important it is to educate larger bodies of people and provide easier access to screening.
Q. Is there a message you would like our Get Your Rear in Gear audience to hear today from you?
A. This Get Your Rear in Gear blog is a fantastic location to invite people to write to the blog and deal with our doctors directly. We will directly answer your questions and be very open.
It is important for current readers of the blog to activate others to come to the Get Your Rear in Gear blog and website. This is a very important campaign. It is the right way to approach it and a great resource for the everyday person.
People always think big events are better, but I believe the localized smaller events are much more significant. Think of it this way, the Chicago Marathon has over 40,000 participants. It happens one day in one place and then it’s over. The same is true for the smaller event. However, if you have several grassroots’ smaller events throughout the country, you bring about social change.
Leave a Comment
We encourage interaction, discussion, commentary, questions and even criticism but respectfully ask that comments and posts are kept relevant and respectful. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, racism, spamming and excessive posting/commenting will not be tolerated. The Colon Cancer Coalition / Get Your Rear in Gear reserves the right to remove any comment or ban any user for any reason. We reserve the right to move discussions offline and to delete excessive comments to improve the overall visitor experience.
Get Your Rear in Gear reserves the right to remove comments advertising commercial products, comments that are inaccurate, or may be otherwise objectionable.
We will not post form letters with the same content from multiple users.
Relevant comments on previously published posts are always welcome.