Why do Japanese medicals check for stomach cancer not bowel cancer?

hence the horrible (and not always pointed out – optional) barium drinks:

“Japan has one of the highest rates of stomach cancer in the world, due to the Japanese diet: low in fat but high in salt and nitrates from traditionally preserved fish and vegetables.

Westerners have much lower rates of stomach cancer and so almost no medical back home would include a stomach screening by X-ray…

Meanwhile, the situation is reversed for colon cancers. These are much more common in the West due to the meat- and fat-rich diet favored there. When past a certain age, anyone eating a Western diet should have some form of colon cancer screening.

This is offered by the UK’s National Health Service to those who are over 60 years of age, while U.S. gastroenterologists recommend that patients aged over 50 have regular colonoscopies. Even an elaborate medical check in Japan may neglect this area.”

From British Chamber of Commerce Japan Acumen newsletter, and also stolen by JapanToday here:

What to expect when you’re undergoing a medical check up in Japan?

This topic also came up a few posts ago here, if you want to scan down the page for more.

Why “ningen dokku”?

Kumiko Makihara has just written a typically interesting piece on Japanese regular health checks in IHT, starting with the reason for the name, which is because it is supposed to be like a shipping going into dock to be checked. Other JapanExplained type questions asked include why they are so popular and why nothing is done about the unnecessary worry and additional testing that check ups which 90% of the population fail cause.:

Exam time

Why has no one heard of paracetamol in Japan?

One major reason may be that it is only known as “acetaminophen” (アセトアミノフェン):

“Paracetamol as it’s known in the Uk has the generic name of acetaminophen. It’s marketed as Tylenol in the US. You can often find Tylenol in regular Japanese pharmacies. If not then ask the doctor for acetaminophen. I’ve been given it in Japan for a fever but it came in 100mg tablets whereas the UK paracetamol is in 500mg tablets. I think the US Tylenol is 350mg in one tablet but I don’t know about the one sold in Japan. Read the label. ”

From the last comment here:

Medicine in Japan on JapanWith Kids


“regarding paracetamol I also managed to find it in Japan !

For the people who are unfamiliar with paracetamol it is a very popular drug that is used as a pain reliever (analgesic) and to reduce fever (antipyretic). However it has no anti-inflammatory properties. This drug was first available in the UK in 1956 under the brand name Panadol (“gentle to the stomach”), unlike aspirin this drug didn’t irritate the stomach lining. The name paracetamol was originally the british generic name for the drug but it was later also adopted as the International Non Proprietary Name.

In the US this drug is known as Acetaminophen (a popular brand is Tylenol), it has been available since 1955. In Japan they also call this drug by the US name, Acetaminophen !! So I found that I could buy it at the pharmacy by asking for Acetaminophen ( the dictionary lists this as the katakana pronunciation アセトアミノフェン )

When I asked for paracetamol initially they had never heard of it, or another place told me it wasn’t available in japan. However when I ask for Acetaminophen no problem !”

from near the bottom of here:

Dental floss and Paracetamol on GaijinPot

Why are pregnant Japanese women so mollycoddled?

My wife wasn’t supposed to even cook for one month after giving birth. My theory was that the (hidden) reason was to save them from the traditional slavedriving of their mothers in law. One commenter on this great post on all the things that are banned for Japanese women who are expecting seems to agree.

Why do Asian doctors give you so much medicine?

I went in for an H1N1 test here in Korea and was told I just had a cold but came out with a prescription for five (!) drugs, none of which I even bothered getting from the chemist’s.

One reason doctors in Japan, Korea and Thailand (my three Asian countries) give so many drugs is that local patients demand them. I’d always assumed that was part of the Asian optimism about science and the future in general and lack of worries about chemicals such as food additives, with maybe a bit of risk-adverse doctors being more likely to be condemned for doing too little rather than too much and some profit to the doctors. According to an article I read yesterday by an American doctor in Korea, though, it is because giving drugs to restore the body’s balance ties in with the ancient Chinese concept of chi (ki in Japanese), being a kind of mystic energy. He said that Western patients thanked him for giving them no treatment, whereas Korean patients demand injections. Certainly ties in with the “more weird stuff is better” philosophy of traditional Chinese medicine.

Why does drug approval take so long in Japan?

“Partly this is because Japanese regulators, with more than 14,000 drugs listed for government-funded medical benefits (Australia has about 600), demand more stringent proof that a new drug is not only safe, but more effective than those already on the market. But there is more than a suspicion that this is just window-dressing for a government policy designed to protect Japan’s fragmented and backward pharmaceutical industry from foreign competition” Read the rest of this entry »

Why does Japan have the world’s fastest aging population?

It’s a combination of the old people living for ever and the young people not doing their duty in the sprogs department. The first is due to getting almost everything you need for longevity- being married, keeping busy, close family ties, a healthy diet and an okay health service. The latter is a combination of the difficulties of getting married and having kids (expensive accommodation and education,difficulties in meeting people and hooking up) and an extreme version of a self-sacrificing generation spawning a self-indulgent one. Other factors include very low rates of pre-marital birth and unmarried couples, women who have babies still being expected to stop work, the difficulties of obtaining credit,and the even more risk averse younger generation not making a move without the increasingly rare permanent contract, mortgage and stack of savings.

Japanese hospitals Stat of the Day

Why do Japanese so rarely ask for second opinions from doctors?

“most doctors… refuse to offer second opinions, looking to avoid conflict… with the colleague who made the original diagnosis” Read the rest of this entry »