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...
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 :)