March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month

Some of you may remember this post, where I talked about how taking up the cello again probably saved my life. This, as Paul Harvey would say, is the rest of the story.

In January 2006, I joined the Williamson County Symphony. As a result of this, I was spending a lot of time practicing. This would involve, as you might imagine, much time sitting on my, um, posterior. After a few weeks, I started to experience some bleeding. At first, I thought it was just a hemorrhoid. I mean I was spending a lot of time on my ass. But something just didn’t seem right about it. There was a lot of blood each time I had a bowel movement. So I went into the doctor.

After an exam, it was determined that I did NOT have a hemorrhoid, and a colonoscopy would be necessary. That colonoscopy revealed a marble sized polyp. Although at marble sized, it can’t really be considered a polyp anymore, can it? Even scarier: it was pre-cancerous. I had dodged a major bullet. And I was only 35.

So now I’m on a pretty short call back for another colonoscopy. In fact, considering how hard it can be to get these scheduled, I’ll probably call in the next few weeks so I can be sure to stay on my schedule. If this one is clear, then I will only have to have them every five years. But it is a pretty small price to pay.

I know that anything involving “that area” can be really embarrassing to talk about. The exams are very invasive and not particularly comfortable. But I have only one thing to say: GET OVER IT. Colon cancer is such a treatable thing if caught early. If I hadn’t gone in when I did, it isn’t too difficult to imagine what the outcome would have been, right?

So, if you are over fifty, get one as a matter of course. If you are younger, and have rectal bleeding or unexplained low back pain, talk to your doctor and discuss the possibility of scheduling one. If you want more information, from actual experts and stuff, check out the following links:

Prevent Cancer Foundation
American Cancer Society
Centers for Disease Control
Colon Cancer Alliance

This is such an amazingly treatable disease. Please, go and get screened today.


6 responses to “March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month

  1. My MIL had colon cancer, and we’re grateful every day that she went in when she had trouble. Thanks for helping get the word out.

    In two weeks, it’s the Relay For Life for the American Cancer Society here. I love it. I went last year and had a ball. I can’t wait to do it again. I am planning on helping every year.

  2. Sober Briquette

    You know what, Melissa, I’m glad you posted this and I read it today.

    After my second child, I had rectal bleeding forever, and I was pretty sure it was hemorrhoids. Although my GYN agreed, he said it had been going on too long so I should have a colonoscopy. That was a year ago, but never had it because of a scheduling conflict. The bleeding stopped (98% stopped), and I didn’t give it much thought.

    However, when you say low-back pain, well, that makes me pay attention again. Again, I explained that away with “getting older” (40) and “zero exercise,” but lately, every night when I lie down in bed, my back aches something fierce.

    So…I’ll call for an appointment. Thanks.

  3. I’ve scheduled exams and canceled them (too busy, etc.). I will reschedule. Thanks for your post.

  4. Thanks for that reminder!

  5. anglophilefootballfanatic

    Good for you posting the PSA. And, it’s wonderful you took notice and did something. You certainly avoided something far worse.

  6. I’m probably guaranteed to have some problems with colon cancer later in life, given my parental history alone. My own history of acid reflux doesn’t help, either.

    Nothing wrong with taking good care of yourself, though.

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