I'm cutting it close to the wire this year with my annual plug for National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, which is celebrated in March. I thought about skipping it, but it's too important. So here I am, last day of the month, urging you to please consider your colon for a moment.
Every year around this time, I parade out that photo of my fine-looking colon. Yes, people, that is actually the inside of my colon. (Where else can you get this kind of entertainment?) Why am I so passionate about something that many people (wrongly) feel ashamed to talk about? Because I would rather talk about this disease and pay attention to this disease than die of it, which my mother did just about 23 years ago at the ripe old age of only 47.
If caught early, colon cancer is a curable disease. If not caught early, it will kill you. Sometimes very quickly. My mother had months not years, and not very good months considering what they did to try to save her. So, for your health, for your family, for anyone who cares about you, go get a colonoscopy as soon as you can if you are over 50 and have never had one, or if you are under 50 but have a family history of colon cancer or any diseases of the colon. For obvious reasons, I am an advocate of lowering that age-50 threshold, but I don't think the medical community is going to do anything about that any time soon. But if you can find a way to get the test earlier rather than later, do it. It is not as bad as you would imagine. Really. I've had two so far and the advances they've made in the prep work that needs to be done is remarkable. The two experiences were like night and day, and I can honestly say that I do not fear the next test, which will come up again in a few months. (I'm on a two-to-three year cycle of tests. Thanks, mom.)
In addition to getting a test to makes sure you don't already have colon cancer or the polyps that can lead to cancer, you can also take some steps to try to prevent colon cancer. Increase fiber, decrease meat. Yes, that's right. Cut down on meat. Do you think that's just some vegetarian propaganda? Think again, and then read this article. Red meat is no friend to the colon. Cut it out or at least cut it down. (See, there's a method to my madness with the whole vegetarian thing.) High fat diets aren't so great either. Click HERE to read about dietary suggestions for colon health.
If you want more information on the signs and symptoms of colon cancer, testing, prevention and more, go to the American Cancer Society by clicking HERE. Now, go call your doctor and make an appointment before I put up photos of someone's unhealthy colon just to scare you.