So let's look at these random facts that I pulled off the vast World Wide Web from reputable places like the CDC and the American Cancer Society.
- It is the 3rd most common cancer for men and women.
- Of cancers that effect both men and women, it is the 2nd leading killer.
- Roughly 1 in 20 people will develop colon cancer in their lifetime, give or take a person or 2.
- All you have to do is look at this girl right here to know that family history is a huge risk factor for developing colon cancer in your younger years (younger than 50).
- 90% of colon cancer cases are in people 50 or older.
- That means that at least 10% of people that develop colon cancer are below that recommended age of 50, and potentially clueless that they are at risk. This is why knowing your family history is vital. It's not the only factor, but it is a huge one. Knowing the warning signs is also great, which is why I talk about them so openly here.
- The Colon Cancer Coalition also has a plethora of facts and figures if you CLICK RIGHT HERE.
I'm sure most people put off getting their recommended colonoscopy for the same reason they put off any preventative health screening. It takes time, effort and nakedness. But I like to remind everyone that a few moments of shame and exposure could prevent you from a lifetime of shame and exposure.
So whatever excuse you're giving me as to why you haven't had a colonoscopy, or you will give me when the time comes, forget about it. Your excuse has always been invalid, but now it's extremely invalid.
As of last week, an at-home, FDA-approved, screening kit is available to you thanks to the Mayo Clinic. That means behind your bathroom door, you can maintain your dignity and still take a huge step toward preventing colon cancer. It's as simple as asking for a sample of ice cream at the ice cream shop, only this isn't a flavor they would have.
Cologuard is a test kit that can be prescribed for you, the person over 50 with an average risk of developing colon cancer. That means if you have a family history, or other risk factors, you most likely need to take the traditional route for this one. Feel free to contact me for some tips, because I can assure you a colon prep can be far more exciting than they make it out to be.
You can use the kit in the privacy of your own home, and send it via UPS back to the lab for testing. I think UPS is going to single handedly answer their own question: "What can brown do for you?" by shipping these kits back. The results are returned to your doctor.
Here is how the Cologuard website describes the magic:
Every day the lining of your colon naturally sheds cells. If you have cancer and precancer in your colon, abnormal cells shed into the colon, along with normal cells. The shedding cells are picked up by stool as it passes through your colon.Cologuard uses advanced stool DNA technology to find DNA from these abnormal cells and hemoglobin from red blood cells.Cologuard is not a genetic test because it does not provide information on inherited risk. Cologuard looks only for altered DNA associated with colon cancer and precancer.
In conjunction with the release of Cologuard, a local news station wanted to get the real scoop from none other than the Colon Cancer Coalition (the very people that put on the Get Your Rear in Gear 5K all over the country). I was privileged enough to be contacted by them to participate in the interview, as someone living colon cancer and going through (my beloved) chemo.
My pet wig was very nervous, as it had never been on television before.
But more on that later.