Thursday, March 10, 2011

Colon Cancer Awareness Month

March has been designated as Colo-Rectal Cancer Awareness month by the American Cancer Society.  More than 55,000 Americans die of the disease each year, which is really sad, because it's one of the most curable forms of cancer.

There are no symptoms in the early stages of colorectal cancer.  Ninety percent of colorectal cancer victims are over the age of 50.  The only way to be certain you do not have it is to be tested.  Doctors recommend that everyone over the age of 50 be tested; that test is called a colonoscopy.  It's a totally painless procedure usually performed in the hospital and doesn't take that long.

How do I know it's painless?  Because I've had it done.  Usually the person receiving the colonoscopy is sedated, so you sleep through the whole thing.  I was nervous when I went for my first colonoscopy and when the nurse asked my weight, I got it wrong;  wrong by a large amount.  I remember that she looked at me a little skeptically, but I really had no idea I had misstated my weight.  She gave me a sedative dose appropriate for the weight I gave her.  It relaxed me, but did not put me to sleep.  So I was awake during the whole test and watched it on the computer monitor.  The was no pain involved whatsoever! 

The "painful" part is the preparation.  (It's psychologically painful, not physically.)  You have to drink about a gallon of a purging liquid to clean out your system so the small tubular camera inserted in your backside has a clear view of your intestinal walls.   Colon cancer usually starts in polyps--small growths that occur in some people's intestines.  The camera is looking for polyps, and if any are found, they are surgically removed on the spot, along with the cancer risk.  It's so simple, it's sad that 90% of those who get colo-rectal cancer would survive if they had the colonoscopy for early detection.

This post is not meant to be a medical expert's thesis; it's merely meant to remind you that if you are over 50 you should have a colonoscopy at least every 10 years.  Depending on your risk factors, your physician may recommend shorter times between tests.  Please discuss it with your physician--most health insurance plans cover most if not all of the test cost, and it could save your life.

So much for the serious portion of this post.   You know it's difficult for me to blog without injecting some humor.  Below is a song that is appropriate to today's topic.   It was sent to me some time ago, and for some reason, I just couldn't get the audio portion to work.  So I have  typed it for your enjoyment.  If you choose to sing it, it goes to the tune of "Rueben, Rueben, I've Been Thinking,"  if any of you remember that song from elementary school music class.

The Colorectal Surgeon's Sing-a-long

We praise the Colorectal Surgeon;
Misunderstood and much maligned,
Slaving away in the heart of darkness,
Working where the sun don't shine.

Respect the colorectal surgeon.
It's a calling few would crave.
Lift up your hands and join us--
Let's all do the finger wave!

When it comes to spreading joy
There are many techniques;
Some spread joy to the world,
And others just spread cheeks.
Some may think the cardiologist
     is their best friend,
But the colorectal surgeon knows....
    He'll get you in the end.

Why the colorectal surgeon?
It's one of those mysterious things.
Is it because in that profession
There are always openings?

When I first met a colorectal surgeion
He did not quite understand;
I said, "Hey, nice to meet you,
But do you mind?  We don't shake hands."

He sailed right through medical school
Because he was such a whiz.
Oh, but he never thought of psychology
Even though he read passages;
A doctor he wanted to be,
For golf he loved to play.
But this is not quite what he meant....
By eighteen holes a day!

Praise the colorectal surgeon.
Misunderstood and much maligned,
Slaving away in the heart of darkness,
Working where the sun don't shine!


Please don't forget: If you are over 50, ask your surgeon about a colonoscopy.  The life you save may be your own!



Mrs B said...

We are all very diligent in our little family about colonoscopies. Even our 26 year old daughter...

Hubby's sister passed 5 years ago from colo-rectal cancer at the age of 47 and it is so important for family members to be proactive.

Thanks for posting about colon cancer awareness month! Cute little song too!

Mrs B

Ⓙ @ $ € € ₦$ ₣®0₥... said...

Such an important post, EJ! I became familiar with the disease when my father in law (who lived with us) died from it about 18 months ago. We all had colonoscopies. I literally had so much fun during mine. The doctor and his team were hilarious. The prep wasn't difficult and didn't last long.

Brian Miller said...

thanks for the PSA...i have mine coming up soon enough....thanks for the bit of humor as well...not a job i envy....

DJan said...

Yes, I wonder what would make somebody decide to become a colorectal surgeon, but I'm glad somebody does. I had mine, and even though the procedure is painless, the prep sure isn't! :-)

glnroz said...

oh heck,,dont worry, this was just the post to go with a cup of coffee and a Jimmy Dean sausage,:)

tsonodablog said...

Good info Eva. And I loved the poem!

EmptyNester said...

I know it's important but I wish there was a less intrusive way to go about it. LOL

Chris@Knucklehead! said...

Eighteen holes a day.

Coffee burns when it shoots out your nose. I just learned that.

rosaria said...

Yes, Mahaam! Most important. Timely. A simple test that, like mammography can pick up those little things we can't feel or are aware of but could cause major trouble.

The Vegetable Assassin said...

I'm betting that most people in that age bracket (or any for that matter!) are put off by the whole "what what in the butt" method of going about things. I mean doctors do that stuff every day but regular people don't. There's never going to be a comfortable way for a person to have something stuck up their netherlands without embarrassment. I'm so gung ho NOW about "Oh I'll be totally sensible and get this done when I'M fifty!" but I bet when I AM, I'll be somewhat less enthusiastic like everyone else. :)

Lazarus said...

Great idea Eva, thanks for the excellent post!

Eva Gallant said...

Glenn: Oh, good; glad it wasn't a problem! lol

Terri: Thanks. I just wish I could have gotten the audio to work.

Rosaria: Amen!

Veg: Like I said, the exam is easy; it's the prep that's tough!

Canadian Blend said...

Ain't that life. Just about the time you get used to prostate exams, they come up with something else. (Moon River... wider than a mile...)

natalee said...

ok eva i printed this out and gave it to my mom and dad..... hugs

Mary at Deep South Dish said...

Only Eva could possibly connect a colonoscopy with humor LOL!! Good advice though. Now I need to listen myself I guess...

Pat said...

Been there, done that, got the T-Shirt.