Now this post falls into a more serious category for me, but sometimes you simply can’t ignore the signs. We like to talk about healthy living around these parts and healthy living is more than taking your vitamins and eating the right foods. It is more than washing your face and putting on sun screen.
Sometimes, it means you and I need to have a little sit down and talk about the tough stuff.
This is one of those times.
We are going to talk about Cancer. Specifically Colon Cancer.
We both know we are supposed to be aware of our family history for things like heart disease and cancer and we know that we are supposed to be screened regularly as we, ahem…. hit a certain age.
But consider this your friendly reminder to heed the warnings.
The screenings exist for a reason.
Last year, one of my neighbors passed away. He and his wife had recently purchased their ‘dream home’. He was in his late 60′s. He had never had a colonoscopy. By the time they discovered his cancer, it was so advanced, he had only months left.
And, a mere two weeks ago, a friend of mine – who is well below the ‘you must now be checked anually ‘ discovered she had the disease. It was detected early because she was paying attention to her body. The good news – the doctors think they caught it early enough. But there is still chemotherapy in her future. And it is still scary.
Signs of colon cancer to watch for – even if you are UNDER 50.
- Blood in your stool or rectal bleeding
- A change in your bowel habits (diarrhea of constipation) or consistency in your stool
- Cramping or pain in your abdomen that doesn’t go away
- Weakness of fatigue
- Sudden weight loss
Now, you should talk to your doctor, especially considering your family history regarding this disease, about when to begin screenings. According to the Mayo Clinic, guidelines generally recommend screenings begin at age 50.
And, as I was reminded by chatting with my friend…. please do listen to your body. She had no reason to believe that she was a candidate for this insidious disease. She has no family history of colon cancer and until two weeks ago, had experienced no symptoms. They came on suddenly. She made an appointment with her doctor right away and was scheduled for surgery in less than a week. Her quick response and the quick actions of her doctors mean I’m lucky enough to have her around and to be able to use her as an example for you.