Colon Cancer: What You Must Know
“Nowadays more people are getting screened but there are still not enough,” Spiegel said. “We advise that people get a screening test at 50. People with a family history or with inflammatory bowel disease should be screened earlier.” He had his first screening test at 35 and had another at age 40.“At 46, they found a polyp. I may be a classic example of someone with a family history of cancer. In a way, that screening test where the polyp was removed could have saved my life.”
But why don’t people get screened? Although there is some discomfort in the preparation for the test, its value seems indisputable. Spiegel concedes there is the embarrassment factor. “But we say don’t be embarrassed to death. In a way, it suffers from the same problem breast cancer had. People don’t want to talk about it. But it is changing.” Still, he agrees it would be valuable if celebrities would talk about having the disease or having relatives who have battled colon cancer.
This month the Colon Cancer Alliance, which is the leading national patient advocacy organization, is working on a series of programs to increase awareness of the disease and encourage early screenings. One such program is a partnership with Ducolax. .A portion of proceeds from the purchase of Dulcolax products supports CCA community screening programs. The Colon Cancer Alliance also provides information and education, offers activities for patients and families, and supports research. Click here to find out more.
“There is good news today even for those who have advanced cancers. There are more drugs and people are living longer and healthier lives even with the disease,” Speigel said. “But I want to say again that while the idea of having a colonoscopy may not be appealing to everyone, get screened. Encourage your family and friends to be screened. A colonoscopy can be a lifesaver.”
Myrna Blyth is Editor-In-Chief of ThirdAge.