Routine colonoscopy certainly saved my life
March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month. It’s a time when the American Cancer Society encourages screening for the disease.
Colorectal cancer is the third-most common cancer in men and women in the United States. Plus, it’s the third-leading killer for men and women. Unlike lung and breast cancers, you typically do not have any symptoms until it becomes rather serious. I learned about it firsthand when I was stricken by the disease in 2003. Thankfully, with early detection, I’m around to tell my story almost 12 years later.
At age 50 I went for what was supposed to be a routine colonoscopy, the test that detects the disease. You are asleep for the test and a doctor examines your inner “plumbing” with a tiny camera. The only annoying part is the “cleansing” process the day before. The liquid you need to drink basically gives you diarrhea.
During this examination, doctors are looking for polyps – tiny skin bumps that might be the early signs of cancer. One discovered inside of me was cancerous. I did require surgery in which a foot of my intestines was removed. Fortunately, since the cancer was caught early, neither chemo nor radiation was necessary.
A colonoscopy is recommended when you turn 50. If you have a family history of colon cancer, the American Cancer Society recommends you get tested in your 40s. You can find out a lot more about cancer by visiting the website cancer.org. Most medical insurances cover the colonoscopy. So nothing should be an excuse, since this simple procedure that could save your life. It certainly saved mine!