Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Have you hugged your colon today?

For weeks now I've been meaning to talk about my colon. Well, not just my colon, but your colon, too. March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, something that is near and dear to my, um, colon. Before this month ends I want to urge you to think about colon health. If you are over 50, please get a colonoscopy. If you are younger than 50 and have ANY family history of any diseases of the colon, please get a colonoscopy. It is not nearly as bad as it sounds. Trust me.

Next month it will be 21 years since my mother died of colon cancer at age 47. She was the picture of health, or so it seemed, until the cancer was diagnosed. So, obviously, the 50-year-old age limit should be lowered. Colon cancer affects lots of people long before they ever hit that magic age. Quite frankly, given what we know about prevention and the tests available for diagnosis, no one needs to die of this disease. I certainly don't plan to die of it. I'm going to die of something, but is sure won't be colon cancer. I'm 46 and I've had two, count 'em, two, colonoscopies already. I'm now on a once-every-two-years schedule because of my family history. That is not a fun prospect, but it sure beats following in my mother's footsteps.

If you were reading my blog last year, you got a bird's eye view of my colon. I don't want my new readers to miss out. So here it is again for old time's sake, a first-hand look at the inside of my colon, and a damn fine colon it is.



You, too, may have such a photogenic colon, but you'll never know until you go for the test. Now go for the test.

And in case you're not quite sure what you could be doing to try to prevent colon cancer, there just happened to be this article in the papers today. Not good news for you red meat eaters, but we vegetarians sure do take some comfort in it. Red meat is no friend to the colon. Cut it out or at least cut it down. High fat diets aren't so great either. Click HERE to read about dietary suggestions for colon health.

People don't like to talk about colon cancer. It's not a "pretty" disease, not that any disease is pretty but this one sure fares worse than many others. In fact, it's shrouded in a bizarre kind of shame. But colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in this country, so it's time to give this disease some long-warranted attention.

Next year I plan to remind you of all this at the beginning of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. By then I might even be passing out blue colon cancer "buddy bracelets" to add to the excitement. See, a good reason to read my blog for at least one more year. Now go talk to your doctor and sign up for a colonscopy before you "forget."

1 comment:

A.L. said...

Thanks Mary, I just might do that. I have been talking about going again, it's been 7 years. At the time my doctor told me to come back in 9 years. I think maybe it's time anyway.