Avoiding Colon Cancer: A Conversation That Could Save Your Life
What do actor Chadwick Boseman, former President Ronald Reagan, Peanuts creator Charles Schulz and my mother all have in common? They all died of colon cancer.
Unfortunately, there are a great many other people I could have included on that list, because colorectal cancer is now the second-largest cause of cancer deaths among adults in the U.S., with approximatively 53,000 people expected to die from it this year.
The really sad thing is how many of those people may have survived if they had only had a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy can detect colorectal cancer as well as prevent a person from getting the cancer down the road.
But, despite this reality, the number of colon cancer screenings have plummeted during the pandemic, with some reports showing as much as an 86% drop between January and April 2020.
Moreover, screenings declined despite the recommended screening population expanding to now include adults aged 45-50, as well as those 50 and older.
When I was younger, a doctor, who knew of my mom's cause of death, told me that I should start getting a colonoscopy at age 35. So I did, and they found and treated polyps. Since then, I have had a colonoscopy on a regular schedule every 3-5 years, as determined by my doctor, and every time they have found polyps.
In my conversation with Dr. Michael Del Rosario, the head of Colorectal Surgery for AtlantiCare, which you can listen to below, I asked the doctor what would have happened if I had not had that colonoscopy when I was 35.
As you will hear, the doctor told me that those polyps would have turned into cancer. It might not have happened for 10 or 15 years, but it would have happened.
I tell you this as a stark reminder of the importance of getting a colonoscopy, especially when there is a history of colon cancer in your family.
Listen to my conversation with Dr. Del Rosario, below....
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