A Gift for You: Colon Cancer Awareness

Jo-Carolyn Goode | 5/1/2014, 8:21 p.m. | Updated on 5/1/2014, 8:21 p.m.
Before 2007, I never thought much about colon cancer. Polyp was a foreign word and I had not learned the ...
Jo Carolyn Goode and Mom

Before 2007, I never thought much about colon cancer. Polyp was a foreign word and I had not learned the proper way to clean a catheter. But that was before the pain in her stomach. Before all the battery of tests that ruled out this and that. Before the years of knowing that something was wrong but not knowing the actual name of it. Before the doctor said, "You have colon cancer."

That was the reality of my mother. During a routine doctor’s visit she was asked if she had a colonoscopy. Like a lot of people, she said no. Since she was well over the suggested age to start colon cancer screenings her doctor quickly made her appointment. Although she was diagnosed with colon cancer, my mom was blessed that it was caught early before it metastasize.

By May 2008, she was cancer free. Though she did not escape the side effects of her chemotherapy treatments. She prove to be a worthy opponent to cancer but it left her with scared lungs making it difficult for her to breathe and was difficult on her already damaged heart. So although she was a cancer survivor for 4 ½ years, cancer would in a way be the victor.

My mom’s story doesn’t have to be your story or the story of someone you love. Colon Cancer is 100% preventable even though it is the leading the cause of death for cancer patients for men and women combined. One of the reasons people are succumbing to the disease is the lack of getting colon cancer screenings early enough and not paying attention to their bodies.

In honor of my mother’s May 2nd birthday I am giving readers a gift that she would have wanted to give you, the facts about colon cancer. Get the knowledge that will keep both you (and the ones you love) and your colon happy for years to come.

Definition – Colon cancer is when poly(s) (a small growth of tissue in the inner lining of the colon or rectum) changes into a cancer. In the very beginning stages of cancer most people won’t know that they have it because symptoms are minimal. This is why colon screenings are so crucial.

Symptoms – One could easily dismissed colon cancer symptoms on numerous other factors but don’t. It is always best to safe than sorry. Some signs/symptoms to look for are: change in bowel habits, blood in stool, abdominal discomfort, and fatigue.

Risk Factors – Age: Being older than fifty markedly increases the diagnosis of colon cancer. Please be aware that younger adults can still develop colon cancer. Personal Health History: If inflammatory bowl disease, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are in your pass medical history your risk of acquiring colon cancer increases because abnormal cells may develop in the colon lining. Cells could become cancerous. As result of cell growth, one would need to be screened a lot earlier. Additional risks: Other risk factors include past family history of colon cancer (I fall into this category so people like me need to be screened at 45 years of age), inherited defective genes, and/or having a few other rare conditions.