Thursday, March 12, 2009

March Is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

I received this information today via a Cancer website that sends me a monthly newsletter and updates. How ironic that Colon Cancer Awarness happens to be the same month as my birthday? I shall never forget this month. :-) I personally am so thankful to my doctor who referred me to a Colon Surgeon and insisted that he do a colonscopy. As I have stated many times before, I was not in pain and did not have any new symptons other than what I had for several years, as a result of a bacterial food poisoning, that my doctor said should have killed me.

If I had not gone and they would not have insisted on the colonscopy, I would not be here today typing this. Should this create fear? Absolutely not, a test is just that; a test. With colon cancer being the #2 Cancer and accounts for the largest percentage of deaths, it is wise to get screened, especially if you are 50 and more so if you have symptons, family history, etc.

I kept putting off going back to the doctor. I had just had my yearly physical in March and by July, I was being sent off for major surgery and subsequently chemo. It was mind boggling then and mind boggling now to go from a "normal" life to a screeching halt.

My brother and sister both need to get a colonscopy. Every time I go to any of the Emory Doctors, they ask me if my brothers and sisters have been tested. So, brothers and sisters if you are reading this.....I'm calling you out!! Please go do it.....I just read that because of my age, it is most likely an inherited gene. I do not want anyone else to have to go through this. If you have to, at least catch it early so it is not advanced like mine. It is not a cake walk....believe me. It has been the hardest thing I've ever done or ever want to do again.

I'm providing information I received today to raise awareness! Your health is a blessing and something no one can give back to you except the Lord.....I took it for granted, however I learned a very valuable lesson.

Here it is.......

Colorectal cancer, also referred to as colon cancer, is one of the most preventable cancers. Recent statistics show that the incidence (the rate at which new cancers are diagnosed) and death rates from colorectal cancer are declining, in part due to prevention through screening and removal of precancerous polyps (growths in the colon that can turn into cancer). Colorectal cancer screening has been in the news a lot in the past few months, from studies about new technologies to updated screening recommendations; patients may be left wondering which screening method is best for them. March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and this year the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE), which represents the specialists in colorectal cancer screening, is educating patients about the recommended screening methods.
"The good news is that death rates are declining from colorectal cancer. The bad news is that only about half of those who should be screened are doing so," said John L. Petrini, MD, FASGE, president of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. "Age is the most important risk factor for colorectal cancer. ASGE guidelines recommend screening begin at age 50 for men and women at average risk who have no symptoms. Some people may need to be screened earlier if there is a family history of the disease. It's important to talk to your doctor about an appropriate screening schedule. Ask questions and work with your doctor to determine the screening method that is best for you, as each screening option has appropriate applications and limitations."

To learn more about colorectal cancer prevention, log on to the ASGE's colorectal cancer awareness Web site offers visitors a wealth of vital information including disease facts about colorectal cancer, screening options, what to expect during a colonoscopy, frequently asked questions, the latest news about colorectal cancer such as studies and statistics, links to patient support and advocacy groups, educational videos, and how to find a qualified doctor in your area. The content is available in English, Spanish and Chinese. In addition to these features, is the Peter and Polly Polyp(TM) birthday e-Card encouraging the recipient to get screened for colorectal cancer.
New this year to is a patient education video on colonoscopy. This informative video walks patients through what they need to know before, during and after a colonoscopy.

Anyone who has gotten tested in the last year, please post a blog comment. Let's see how many have already been tested and once you are tested, please let us know. We can all be accountable to other another. Just think, if you hate to have it done one time....I will have to have a colonscopy every 3 months for possibly 5 years. Now how depressing is that? ha. However, I would rather be doing tests than surgeries and chemo. :-(

Look forward to hearing from you.

As always, love to all.

Goodnight and God Bless,



Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Leah - I don't remember the exact day, but for some reason I remember it's toward the end of the month. I don't know why I remember that. Tell us so we can tell you Happy Birthday when it gets here. Hope you are feeling well and enjoying your time off work as much as you can. It will soon be Spring and you can sit outside and enjoy the beautiful days.

You and that colonoscopy doctor are going to become very close - aren't you? Just kidding. Talk to you soon.


Vernie said...

Hi Leah. I hope and pray that this wet and rainy Saturday morning will find you comfortable and pain-free. I am at work today, thankful that I have a job but still hopeful that soon I can retire and relax and enjoy some quality time with my family. Just thinking about you today, thanks for the information on Cancer Awareness Month. Much love sent your way today!