I had not yet made my appointment as of 2 weeks ago, I feel fine and I was not looking forward to the prep for it, so as many of us do, I procrastinated.
Then, one day in the last 2 weeks, at a really early hour, one of my closest friends calls gets in touch. She is in her mid 40’s, has 3 kids and is the picture of health. She shares that she had just been diagnosed with colorectal cancer. My heart sunk and I entered that place called denial.
How could she have Colon Cancer? She had no symptoms, she is less than 50 , she is active and healthy and she is a single mom with young kids. It did not make any sense! I know, I know, it does NOT have to make sense.
After we spoke, and made plans to see another, I also called and made my appointment for this month. Although I am dreading the prep work, I am not going to complain and I am going to get through it all. For my friend. For my family and for me.
Ironically, this is Colon Cancer Screening month, so I wanted to share a few pieces of info I researched. I am NOT a doctor, I am NOT an expert, just a mom who wants to be sure as many of us know all we need to know.
Colon Cancer is on the rise in young people, an article in the NY Times talks about this here.
You don’t always have symptoms, but when you do, they could include:
Blood in or on the stool
Stomach pain or cramps that do not go away
Losing weight with no explanation
An ongoing change in bowel habits (diarrhea, constipation, or feeling that the bowel does not empty completely)
Stools that are narrower than usual
Frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness or abdominal cramps
Feeling very tired and fatigued
Screenings tend to start at age 50, but with symptoms or a family history of polyps, your doctor may decide to do it earlier. Colon and rectal cancers are highly treatable when found early.
So, my appointment is set, my friend starts her treatment this week and once again, I am reminded how life changes in a second and we need to take a minute to smell the flowers AND make our doctor appointments.
The CDC has a Screen/ Tool kit on their site to help answer more questions. Here is the link