March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness month. Despite being the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S., this cancer isn’t talked about much. Many people, like myself, are trying to change that. Screening for colorectal cancer, i.e. a colonoscopy, should begin when you turn 50; earlier if you have symptoms and/or a family history of colorectal cancer. Although the prep isn’t fun, the scope itself is like taking a short nap — you feel nothing. For a good description of the process, Google “Dave Barry colonoscopy” for a great write-up he did on his colonoscopy.
Symptoms for this disease can be obvious, subtle or in most cases no symptoms at all. It affects men and women equally. Simply put, a colonoscopy, one simple procedure, can save your life. If someone had talked to me about colorectal cancer and my risk, I might not have been diagnosed with stage 3 rectal cancer and ended up with a colostomy at the age of 43. This disease can be beaten, but to beat it, you need to find out if it’s lurking inside you first. Schedule your colonoscopy. Do it for yourself, your friends and your family.