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The Dreaded “C” Word

The Dreaded “C” Word

by Becca Brannan, RN - March 11, 2014

As a member of the Health & Wellness team at Shannon Medical Center, I spend a good deal of time out in our local community teaching about prevention and talking about wellness. And, it never fails— as soon as I mention preventive screenings I hear moans and groans coming from the audience. They know what is coming. They are dreading the big “C” word.

You know what I am talking about… COLONOSCOPY!

The audience will shout to me, “It’s the prep that is the worst part!” I have heard many reasons why people hate them, avoid them and try to never say the “C” word. I have wives complain they can’t get their husbands to schedule one. And, I always have someone ask, “Have you had one?”

The answer is no. I haven’t hit 50 yet, and my family history hasn’t necessitated me to get one early. BUT I do know they can save lives. While it can be an unpleasant experience (as I am repeatedly and vehemently told), colorectal cancer is one of the five most common cancers in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society.

The risk increases as we age, with most cases diagnosed after age 50. So, that is why your doctor is after you to get screened when you hit the big 5-0. If you have family history or are having issues or symptoms, they may recommend you get screened earlier or more frequently than every 10 years.

What can you do? While you can’t do anything about your age or family history, there are some things you can do to decrease your risk of developing colorectal cancer.

• Daily physical activity
• Maintain a healthy weight
• Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains
• Limit your intake of red and processed meats
• Quit smoking
• Alcohol in moderation
• Follow your doctor’s recommendations for screening

March is National Colorectal Awareness Month! Don’t put it off any longer. If it is time for you to get one, make the date. It might not be champagne and caviar, but it could save your life.
Don’t forget most insurance companies will cover a screening colonoscopy at 100%.

Check out these sites for more information about colorectal cancer.

American Cancer Society
National Cancer Institute


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