Thursday, June 23, 2011

Don’t put them off. Get tested for colon and breast cancer.

After my struggle over the last couple of months trying to obtain proper medication for my ongoing medical conditions, I’m happy to say I finally had a great experience with a medical test that no one looks forward to but everyone should eventually have done. Yes, this week I had a colonoscopy.

With a history of colon cancer in my family, I’ve made sure my husband and I have had regular colonoscopies since we turned 50. Since we’re anesthetized for the procedure--not to mention the prep process, which doctors admit causes a certain “discomfort”--we have to schedule our tests a week apart so we can be each other’s driver for the trip home afterward. That’s why Jim’s test will be next week. We’ll both be delighted when we can stop worrying about our insides for another few years, depending on the results of Jim’s test.

And while I’m at it, the same advice applies to regular mammograms. With breast cancer in my family too, I’ve been getting that procedure done every year since I was in my early 40s. At least there’s no prep involved for this rather simple procedure. I just have to show up for the test, and any “discomfort” only lasts a few seconds at a time. Besides, if you want real discomfort, just ignore these handy tests and see how bad it feels to deal with either of these terrible diseases.

So, if you’re 50 years old (possibly as young as 40 for mammograms), have a family history of colon and/or breast cancer, or have suspicious symptoms, talk to your doctor about getting a colonoscopy and/or mammogram. I can’t deny that these tests involve a certain “discomfort,” but it’s definitely worth the peace of mind you’ll have when the doctor says everything’s clear and you don’t have to bother with the test again for a while. No excuses. Get checked!

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