Colon Cancer: The Silent — Preventable — Killer

This is what I did every day in March…

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That’s right… Every day in March I posted onto my facebook wall a picture of my little blue wristband in support of The Colon Cancer Alliance.

I didn’t expect to harass every one of my facebook friends this way. When I had dinner in early February with a group of dear friends, one of them — who is currently on her second round in her battle against colon cancer — shared with us the wristbands and other accessories for the 2013 Dress in Blue Day campaign. Dress in Blue Day was March 1st, but the entire month of March is dedicated to the awareness of this particular cancer. I took a wristband and didn’t give it much more thought.

I knew I would wear the wristband on March 1st; I may have even given some passing-barely-conscious-thought to wearing it every day in March. I knew I would post a picture on March 1st, sort of my “fling it into the universe and see what happens” approach. But for the rest of February, I had no idea that on March 2nd I would post another picture with the caption, “I’m dressing in blue every day this month… who’s with me?” 

I tried to make every photo interesting, even if some turned out frankly odd. I tried to say something about colorectal cancer, or any kind of cancer, or health with each photo. And each picture included the link to www.dressinblueday.com.

About a week into it, my phone dictionary had memorized the “dressinblueday” part. I ordered more wristbands for the friends who offered to wear one, and some for those who didn’t offer but got a wristband handed to them anyway. (Thanks, Brew Crew!)

Turns out, almost EVERYONE has a relative or friend who has suffered or died from this disease. And you know what? It’s not necessary!

Here’s a direct quote from the The Colon Cancer Alliance page, “If everyone 50 years or older had a regular screening test, as many as 80% of deaths from colon cancer could be prevented.” Of course, the best screening test is the dreaded colonoscopy. Let’s see: One colonoscopy every ten years, or a lifelong battle including chemotherapy, radiation, colostomy bags and eventually death. How is that a difficult decision?

Then, just today, I read this article possibly connecting our increasingly high consumption of sugar with colon cancer, Is Sugar Toxic? It’s a very interesting and well-written article challenging common perception and suggesting that yes, in fact, sugar in dangerous levels could be an associated factor as the cause of several cancers, including colon cancer.

Again, that’s preventable. I know it’s hard, believe me. I only just cut out (well, almost) my sugar intake for the last three months. I have finally managed to cut my cravings entirely, but sugar creeps in because it is used in nearly everything processed and packaged for our convenient consumption.

One definite accomplishment of the month? After avoiding a mammogram and pap smear for over a year, I got both done on March 28th. Yay, me. As I said on my facebook dressinblueday photo that day, if I were of an age to get a colonoscopy, that would have been on the agenda, too.

So please, while “The memory of a good friend is a blessing” (Proverbs 10:7), let’s not cross ourselves over to the other side too soon. Health matters. Pay attention.

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