- Colorectal cancer is the second most deadly form of cancer, behind lung cancer, but it doesn’t have to be.
- Screening can prevent the cancer or catch it early when it’s highly treatable.
- Everyone over the age of 50 should be screened for colorectal cancer (45 for African Americans and 40 for those with a family history).
- There are several different screening options. Some cost as little as $25 and all are covered by insurance.
- One in every three people are not up-to-date on screening for colorectal cancer. Only 59 percent of Oregonians are getting screened. By comparison, screening rates for breast and cervical cancer are at or over 75%.
- Colorectal cancer is often symptomless.
- Colorectal cancer affects men and women equally.
- Research found that people are most likely to get screened if they’re encouraged by someone they know and trust. So, if you’ve been screened, sharing your story is critical to saving lives. Talk about your experience with people you know and encourage them to get screened too.
In May 2006 my mom—a vibrant and otherwise healthy 82-year-old African woman—was diagnosed with Stage 4 colorectal cancer. Before her diagnosis I had never thought about colorectal cancer, but now I know that it is the second most deadly form of cancer and is also more prevalent among African Americans.
My mom had her surgery the Saturday before Mother’s Day and the only gift she asked of her six children was to get a colonoscopy. I scheduled mine as soon as I got home from visiting with her.
I’m telling my story to demystify the procedure and stress the benefits of getting screened. Colonoscopies are an easy and uncomplicated procedure and are crucial for preventing colorectal cancer and identifying cancer early so it can be treated. Nothing should get in the way of getting screened.
Liz Baxter – Portland