Colon Cancer Awareness
Gosh, it is already April! There are only nine days left until the running of the Boston Marathon and only 262 shopping days until Christmas! The first day of spring has come and gone! And, did you know that March was “Colon Cancer Awareness” month?
Why should you care about Colon Cancer? Did you know there are 142,500 new cases of Colorectal cancer in the USA each year? That is more than TWICE the population of St. Cloud, MN. It is 35 times the population of Wadena! But, why should you care about this? Because when you hit 50 years of age, younger if you have a close family relative with colon cancer, you NEED to have your screening colonoscopy! Oh Joy, you say! Just what you were looking forward to on your 50th birthday! One person in 20 will develop colon cancer; that means that you, or one of your close neighbors will develop colon cancer. Do I have your attention yet? Now do you see why March was an important month?
Colorectal cancer is the SECOND leading cause of cancer deaths in the USA behind lung cancer. The good news is that over the last 20 years the death rate of colorectal cancer has been FALLING! Many possible reasons exists for the drop in the deaths, but one of the biggest factors in reducing cancer deaths, is early diagnosis. It only makes sense: in breast cancer, if we “catch” a tiny cancer on a mammogram before it spreads into the lymph nodes, the patient can be CURED! Similarly, in colon cancer, if we discover “polyps” or remove an early cancer via the colonoscope, we can CURE colon cancer! No Chemo! No ostomy bag .
Colorectal cancer can be cured! Colonoscopy is one way to diagnose it early enough to cure it. Other diagnostic tests are available; “virtual colonoscopy” is a very fancy CAT scan test available in large teaching hospitals. A finger rectal exam done by your medical provider can discover, on a small chemical developer card, blood from acancer. After that test you would need a colonoscopy to diagnose the cancer.
Contrary to your neighbors horror stories of colonoscopy preparations, pain during the procedure and starving for days before the test. The clean out or “prep” before the procedure is much easier than it used to be and there are NO enemas! The sedation medicine works very well. You won’t feel anything during the procedure and you wake up when we are done! No more feeling drugged all day.
The best part of the colonoscopy is if we find a small polyp, we can remove it right then and there! And, sometimes, if we find a small, early colon cancer we can CURE it right then! NO SURGERY! Oh, the breakfast after the test isn’t bad either!
So what are you waiting for? If this is your 50th year (younger if you have an immediate family member with a history of colorectal cancer), call your medical provider today! Schedule this LIFE SAVING procedure! Your grandchildren will thank you!
The information and opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author, and are not designed to constitute advice or recommendations as to any disease, ailment or physical condition. You should not act or rely solely upon any information contained in these articles without seeking the advice of your personal medical provider.
Article written by Dr. David Kloss, M.D., F.A.C.S. Tri-County Health Care Surgeon