Dr Janese Laster is board certified in Internal Medicine, Gastroenterology, Obesity Medicine, and nutrition. She completed both her Internal Medicine residency and Gastroenterology fellowship training at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, DC. During her Gastroenterology fellowship she became interested in nutrition and bariatric endoscopy and sought out additional training. She completed the Nestle Clinical Nutrition fellowship program and then an advanced endoscopic bariatric training fellowship with an international expert in Madrid, Spain. Armed with all of her training and personal experiences, Dr. Laster opened Gut Theory Total Digestive Care in Washington, DC. Gut Theory is a one-of-a kind practice that institutes evidence based nutrition education, comprehensive nutrition counseling, anti-obesity pharmacologic therapy, and endoscopic bariatric procedures, such as the intragastric balloon and endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty, all with the goal of maintaining sustainable healthy body weights.She truly believes that she can change your life starting with your gut!
Recently the age for a colonoscopy was changed from 50 to 45. What brought about that change?
Dr. Lassiter: Because over the last 10 years, we have been seeing an increase in younger patients being diagnosed with colon cancer but were being diagnosed at later stages. The thought is that it may change again because we’re really seeing people younger and younger. Everybody saw recently with Chadwick Bozeman who was much younger than 45 even.
Is colon cancer curable?
Dr. Renee: You have to find it early, which is why it’s important for you to pay attention to rectal bleeding, pay attention, and make sure that you know your family history. Get your colonoscopy when you need to get it. If you have zero family history, you should get it at 45. But if you have a family history, get it 10 years before the person who was diagnosed. So we just talked to Gwen and Gwen’s children will have to have colonoscopies between 35 and 40 cuz she was diagnosed at 49, but we know because it was a later stage, she had it for a couple of years. And so that is why it’s so important to know family history because you wanna make sure that you tackle this quickly. Knowledge is power, you know, it’s but with any cancer the earlier, you know, the more likely you are to survive. So, you know, it’s much better that you pay attention to these things.
What are important things that should be in your diet for good colon health?
Dr. Lassiter: An increased risk of colon cancer is caused by red meats and processed meats. Those are the two biggies and everyone sort of closes their ears and is like LA LA LA LA LA LA, when it comes to that. We know they’ve been labeled as carcinogens and have increased risk for colon cancer. What do I mean by processed meats? This is when my dad gets upset and annoyed, but this is his bacon, sausage ham, the pork, all of the deli meats that we eat. All of those fake meats, all of the red meats, these are all things that we know are carcinogens. Even up to just 50 grams, a person that has 50 grams a day of those sort of processed meat has an 18% increased risk of colon cancer. Just so you know, 50 grams of bacon is 4 strips. That’s 50 grams – 4 strips of bacon. We want people to get more fiber in the diet, more whole foods, more fruits, more vegetables. And so the recommendation for fiber and intake is about 25 or 30 grams per day. And I always joke that everybody who’s coming to me to talk about weight loss, always talks about how much protein they’re getting. I’m like, y’all are not protein deficient, but I know what you are. You’re fiber deficient. This whole country has constipation, abdominal pain and bloating because they don’t poop. So getting people to get enough fiber is huge. As gastroenterologists, we care about fiber, not only so you can have bowel movements, but it’s also because that’s helpful for your colon health. Patients should eat more fruit, more vegetables, more whole grains, you don’t have to be afraid of carbs.Our goal is to give you nice complex carbs. More fiber, fiber, fiber, fiber, fiber!
Dr. Renee: Fiber removes the fat. So if you eat fiber, it removes the fat.
Dr. Lassiter: It helps with weight loss.
There is a lot more to this conversation and how to prevent or address colon health. Click the link for more information.