Saturday, October 18, 2008

Nine Years ago today......

....... I lost my mother to colon cancer. Fifty-four years is too young. I always try and take this opportunity to remind my friends and readers that colon cancer can be detected in its early, curable stages, by routine medical care. The complexity of testing depends on your risk factors. If you have a brother, sister or parent who has been diagnosed with colon cancer you should have a colonoscopy by age 50, or about ten years earlier than when your family member was diagnosed, whichever comes first. For me it means I'll be having one when I turn 40. We don't know if my mother had any family members who had colon cancer, but do know that a couple of her close family members died young of uncertain causes, so there is a possibility. She had never been recommended to have a colonoscopy, or even a flexible sigmoidoscopy, which is a relatively simple office procedure, for which you don't even have to be sedated. Even simpler than that is a home test called a fecal occult blood test which if negative, may not have much significance, but if positive can suggest an underlying problem and the need for further testing. Many medical societies have made recommendations for everyone to have a colonoscopy by age 50, but it is still not a common practice.

October is breast cancer awareness month, we all hear about wearing pink for support, getting mammograms, etc. Colon cancer may not be as common, but is just as devastating for the patient, and the family, and it really can be detected early like breast cancer. You just have to understand your risks and talk to your doctor. Please.

I still miss my mom, a lot, everyday.

2 comments:

Tina:0) said...

Thanks for the reminder! It does seem like there are a few certain types that are focused on, but all cancer needs to be brought to everyone's attention!

Vanessa said...

I'm behind on blog reading. I just wanted to thank you for bringing awareness to this topic. Most of us don't think about illness, or diseases, until it happens to us or someone we love. No one in my family has had colon cancer but my grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer 5 years ago.

We all need to take better care of ourselves. Thank you for the reminder.

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