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Colon Cancer

By March 7, 2008 - 1:01pm
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Here's something I didn't know. Each year, more than 150,000 people are diagnosed with colon cancer and more than 50,000 people die from the disease. While the statistics are startling, the good news is that colon cancer is something that can be prevented with regular screenings and is curable with early detection.

The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE), re-launched its colon cancer awareness web site www.screen4coloncancer.org for National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month this month to encourage people to get screened for colon cancer. If you know someone who might be at risk, you may want to pass along the info.

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HERWriter Guide

I had a colonoscopy this past summer. I was 37 and admittedly it was an early age screening. I think the doctor may have been a little hasty in her decision to have me get a colonoscopy but I went through with it anyway.

The preparation is awful - drinking one gallon of the most horrendous tasting concoction in an hour or less. It actually took me almost 3 hours because I was gagging so much.

Then your system "clearing out" is kind of a pain in the - well, it's too obviously a joke!

The procedure itself is very uncomfortable and I was aware for part of it, so the pain was pretty bad but fortunately you get that childbirth experience of forgetting it pretty quickly.

My problems were related to pregnancy and I got the all clear and need no testing again until I am 50 - yay for that!

At the same time, I was quite worried about my symptoms and it's wonderful to know I'm fine. Ironically, after a year of the symptoms, they cleared up within a week of my colonoscopy and have never returned.

March 9, 2008 - 7:26am

The American Cancer Society's top news story (www.cancer.org) discusses the newest line of defense (or, rather prevention) for colon cancer.

Virtual colonoscopy, along with a DNA stool test, is the newest recommendation, and is also less invasive. However... they caution that the more invasive the test (read: more uncomfortable), the better the test is at detecting polyps.

The virtual colonoscopy is basically a CT scan that uses X-ray images of your colon to detect polyps, and is being provided as another option of tests, in hopes that people will be more likely to be screened for colon polyps and colon cancer (not scared away from other, more invasive tests, like colonoscopy).

ACS provides a list of optional screening tests, along with the pros/cons of each, and how to prepare for each test. Talk with your doctor after reading about each option, and it's likely that your family history and other risk factors will determine which test is right for you.

March 8, 2008 - 2:00pm

This is something my siblings and I have to be concerned about as both my parents have had polyps removed from their colons, and my father had a recent scare. I've had the dreaded scans going in both directions, too.

It's no fun to get screened, but it is worth the discomfort, just to be sure things are as they should be. Early detection is a good thing.

It's an embarrassing topic, but, have you discussed the possibility of colon issues with your physician, lately?

March 7, 2008 - 5:16pm
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