March was National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and this year, I didn’t get around to putting up a blog post about it. Yet I did get around to doing some firsthand research. I am fifty-two years old, have a family history of pre-cancerous polyps and was overdue for a colonoscopy. So, I finally got around to scheduling one.
For various reasons, I couldn’t get the colonoscopy scheduled until lateMay, but now, I’ve completed my colonoscopy and can write firsthand about the experience.
It turns out that I did have a small, benign polyp which was removed and biopsied. Being a social media professional, I also spent time talking about the experience online.
Yes, the preparation for the colonoscopy was not particularly enjoyable. Yes, when I went in, they gave me anesthesia and I slept through the whole thing. Yes, I was nervous before the procedure and even afterwards as I awaited the results of the biopsy.
However, there was another experience I did not expect. People have often commented about when they buy a car, all of a sudden they start seeing lots of people driving the same car. In my case, the more I talked about my colonoscopy online, the more people came forward with their own stories. Often, they were stories of people who put off having their colonoscopy until they had developed advanced colon cancer. I guess I know a lot more people fighting colon cancer than I realized.
All of them echoed similar themes. “Good for you for getting a colonoscopy”. Having a small benign polyp removed from my colon probably hasn’t saved my life. When it comes time for my next colonoscopy there may be another polyp and getting that one removed may have a bigger impact on my health.
However, talking openly about getting a colonoscopy could end up helping save someone else’s life. So, if you’re due for a colonoscopy, don’t put it off, and don’t be shy about talking about it.
CHC has a colorectal cancer screening program which has received grants from the Department of Public Health. It is a new and important program which runs in conjunction with our other cancer screening and early detection programs.
National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month has come and gone this year. I’ve had my colonoscopy and the polyp they discovered was benign, but still, the need for cancer screening continues, not only for colon cancer, but for breast cancer, cervical cancer, and, as we get into the summer month, for more awareness of skin cancer.