50 and over should begin their annual screening using one of the screening standards below:
- Colonoscopy every 10 years – The gold standard
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years
- Double-contrast barium enema every 5 years
- CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every 5 years
Most people absorb the “50 and over” portion of the screening, but that hasn’t helped the national rate of screening which is around 40%. Compare that percentage to the 80% rate for breast cancer and you may scratch your head. Those eligible for screening aren’t doing it at the right time.
What most people miss hearing about is when they should get screened if they fall under the age of 50. We ask our doctors and national guidelines to be the decision maker of our body. And, we often don’t push the button for ourselves, unless the button is being thrust upon our own body.
Why do we not know the “right time” if we fall under 50?
- Guidelines are general and can miss a percentages of our population for the very fact that the population is not general
- Early stage colorectal cancer often produces no symptoms
- Online and print publications can be misinterpreted or misunderstood particularly for those under 50 and when they need to return for another screening
- PSA’s and media interviews are short and to the “point of the moment” v. being an international assembly of experts and patients
- Doctors and colorectal advocates may miss the words you need to hear in conversation, lectures and reports
So how do you push the button? Here’s “Get Your Rear in Gear’s Push the Button” key ingredients:
- Know a wide range of facts from reputable multiple medical and patient resources
- Ask everyone in your immediate and extended Family about colorectal cancer history (this may not be easy as older generations often consider it a taboo subject)
- Love your body by listening to it and making it your number one priority
- Talk with your doctor about your symptoms and family history – prepare your case for getting a colonoscopy just as you would do to get the million dollar deal
We call these “Push the Button” ingredients the best combined ingredients. Yet, after mixing up these ingredients, you might find yourself thinking, “um, something still just isn’t measuring up.” Get Your Rear in Gear wants you to push the button further by asking:
Another medical expert
We hear countless stories of people getting the help they needed from other doctor opinions.Actor Fran Drescher went to eight doctors, before being diagnosed with uterine cancer.We aren’t saying that you should become a hypochondriac, but we have heard countless stories of people being told they probably have a pulled muscle, cracked rib or “just irritable bowel syndrome.”
Family and friends that have been diagnosed
We can’t say enough how critical this can be to helping you determine if your problem falling outside of the “reported symptom’s” and guidelines. Colorectal cancer advancement these last ten years is largely credited to the grassroots army of colorectal cancer patients, “warriors” and caregivers.
Don’t I deserve to trust my gut instincts? Don’t I deserve to get the right answers? Am I making this conversation everyday language, so others will talk about it with me? Even at the dinner table, words like colon, colorectal and colonoscopy should be as common as the latest Apple product. Imagine if everyone got excited about helping you determine if you have a problem like they do about the latest cool tool.
Please trust yourself today to do the right thing. Get Your Rear in Gear is bigger than just a message for colon cancer; it is a message for all of us to take action, lead longer healthier lives, go to the doctor regularly, to listen to our bodies when something isn’t right and to get the right answers, regardless of age.
Next month, we will explore the different screening options.
Kristin Tabor, President & Founder