Breasts are much prettier than colons. Trust me, I’ve seen both. A colon looks a bit like a garden hose made of raw liver. While there is such a thing as a tasteful and rather sexy display of décolletage, there really is no socially acceptable way to display the colon. Breasts are used to feed children, sell products, and attract the opposite sex. Colons are full of, well, you know.
“Cancer” is a word that none of us want to hear. We often gather together to form a kind of army against possible invasion. We have awareness campaigns, we see ribbons on cars and clothing and packages of food. We’ve all seen the bumper stickers with the “cute” sayings like “Save the TaTas” and “Feel Your Boobies”. But there are certain things we just don’t discuss in polite company. We don’t talk about bowel function. It’s gross. We aren’t supposed to talk about things like shape of bowel movements, excess gas, abdominal pain and blood in the toilet bowl. And so we are silent. We’ve all heard the sophomoric jokes about “silent but deadly” in reference to those quiet passages of especially odorous emissions, but in this case our silence literally can be deadly.
Colon cancer was the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States in 2010. It begins with abnormal polyps that take from TEN to FIFTEEN YEARS to develop into a malignancy. A colonoscopy is a test that can PREVENT us from developing cancer. PREVENT. While it can also catch cancer in its early and most treatable stages, it can PREVENT us from ever having the disease in the first place! When then test is being done, if any polyps are seen they can be removed rather easily right then and there and sent to the lab. Most are benign. But if they are the type that will eventually become malignant, they are now GONE.
I watched my grandfather die of colon cancer. I watched my brother- my only sibling- go through surgeries and chemo for colon cancer. Thankfully his outcome was good. Still, the process is not something anyone wants to deal with. I met a young woman who had just graduated from college and was ready to begin her graduate studies when she was diagnosed with colon cancer. She is still only in her mid twenties and struggles with the aftermath of her surgeries and treatments.
If everyone would learn the symptoms, if everyone would get the screening, this could be a disease could in fact not only be taken out of second place, it could be almost totally eliminated.