Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Soapbox

The pink ribbon is synonymous with Breast Cancer... I don't know about you, but I assumed that if there was a ribbon for Colon Cancer, it would be brown, but it's not... it's royal blue. :)



Often times when people experience a particular disease, or some unfortunate event they develop a conviction or desire to reach out to others who can relate, to organize fundraisers, or spread awareness or education about the topic. Its where organizations and foundations are born like Mothers Against Drunk Driving or the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

I'll admit right now that I have that little desire to in some small way 'educate people' in the hopes that they can take preventative measures to avoid ending up in a similar situation to the one I've found myself in. So if you'll humor me for just one post on this blog, I promise it will be the only one. And it will be short and sweet!

Here are a few statistics (from a credible source, American Cancer Society)
  • Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the US. Approximately 147,000 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer this year, and almost 57,000 will die from the disease.
  • Colorectal cancer is a highly preventable and treatable cancer when caught in the early stages. Tens of thousands of lives could be saved every year through proper screening. Almost all colorectal cancers begin as polyps in the colon that can be removed during a colonoscopy. When polyps are removed, colorectal cancer can be stopped before it even starts.
  • A personal or family history of colorectal cancer, certain other cancers, colon polyps, or other bowel diseases increase your risk of developing colorectal cancer. Anyone can help prevent colorectal cancer by exercising regularly, eating a low-fat high-fiber diet (whole grains, fruits & veggies), maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking.

Click here for information on Colon Cancer screening recommendations from the ACS.

As I'm sure you're well aware, Colon Cancer is not the only cancer that has available screening for early detection and prevention. With that being said... allow me to nag you :)

Have you had your annual...
Mammogram?
PAP Smear?
Colonoscopy?
Prostate exam?
Blood work?


The 'standard' for starting colon screening is age 50...although there are many groups who are pushing to lower that age to 40. I know many of the people who read this blog are quite a few years away from needing to start thinking about their first colonoscopy, but we all have parents, grandparents, friends, aunts and uncles who are 'of age'. Encourage them to schedule a screening....the good news is that if it comes back in the clear and no polyps are found the general thought is that you do not need to be screened again for another 10 years!! That is some good piece of mind!

No one likes to be preached to, and I hope you know that is not my intent with this post. I just feel like my eyes have been opened and I have a whole new perspective on becoming an advocate for one's own health. There wasn't much I could have done by way of screening to help my own situation, but there are tests available to us that could catch something early (God forbid) for you or one of your loved ones.

Happy screening :)

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Susan

Jump, Stomp, Yell on that Soapbox. It's not preaching, it's saving someones life. No test or screening is that bad or uncomfortable that anyone can't endure. Get up from the computer and call and make the appoinment. NOW! Everyone

Your Dad Cousin Dave Willis

Cassy Taylor said...

Thank you for your post Susan. I was actually diagnosed with Crohn's disease 7 years ago and never really thought that it increased my risk for cancer. I am due right now to get some blood work but I've been sitting on it because it's just inconvenient and I didn't think it was all that necessary when I'm in remission. Your post helped me realize how important this simple task is. Taking care of yourself needs to be a higher priority for everyone. Thanks again.

Hooked on Merrill said...

Susan...you are my hero! I just sat here for the last half hour or so reading you blog. You are truly an inspiration to me. And keep up your preaching! I am always telling Brady that we need to eat high fiber foods! I think I will have some Fiber One for breakfast tomorrow!

Mike Steph and Brooklyn said...

Seriously you are so entitled to get up on that soapbox and scream to the world. I think it is so easy for us to put everyone else before us but it's so important to take care of ourselves. Especially now that I am a wife and mother I realize how big of an impact it would have if something happened to me so I try to be good about my yearlys but I most DEFINITELY will now. Keep on preaching!

hlmortensen said...

Good reminder. And I'm SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO glad to hear the good news about the CT scan. It seems the chemo is doing it's job. ALl those long nights and sick days have not been in vain. :) Keep it up! You're doing great!
Heidi

Anonymous said...

Susan,
I don't know if you'll read this or not, but I have to tell you, ever since I heard about your cancer, I have not stopped thinking about you. And in fact, I made an appointment for a colonoscopy, had it done a few weeks ago, and am happy to say it was perfectly clear. Still not sure that the torture the day before was worth the peace of mind! But I want you to know that you are my hero. I read your blog on a regular basis because I want to know how you are doing. This whole thing sucks, but you've got what it takes to make the best of this. Thanks for being such a great inspiration!
Take care,
Vicky Lysenko (Craig Kraus's mom!!)