Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Testing For Prostate Cancer Isn't Enough

Everyone who follows follows my blogs knows that I believe prostate cancer screening saves lives. Since both prostate and colon cancer run in my family I've been diligent to screen for both forms of cancer.

I was diagnosed with prostate cancer when I was 57. When I had my second colonoscopy at age sixty. A polyp was removed. Thankfully is was not cancerous, but I was told my next screening should occur in five years rather than ten. I suspect time moves more rapidly as we get older. Five years flew by. I turned sixty-five and it was time to schedule my third colonoscopy.

I think day before my colonoscopy is much worse than the day of my colonoscopy. Here's why: On the day before the procedure I was restricted from eating any solid food.That's a tough restriction, but something worse is yet to come. I was also required to drink two nasty tasting bottles of a bowel cleansing medication. One bottle in the day time, the second at midnight.

For most of the day, you'll be visiting your bathroom frequently. My night was more miserable than I anticipated. I thought most of the cleansing was completed before midnight. I was wrong.

I decided to stay down stairs on a couch. I didn't want to keep my wife awake with my frequent trips to the bathroom. There was no way I could think about sleeping. I turned on the TV and channel surfed, which was interrupted by frequent trips to the bathroom multiple times each hour.

By 4am I managed to get some sleep until I needed to use the bathroom again at 6:30. I was supposed to be at the hospital at 8:45 so I was facing test day with less than three hours of sleep.

At the hospital it takes almost as much time to fill out the paperwork as it does to get you ready for your colonoscopy. Your required to remove all your clothing. You are given one hospital gown and a pair of no slip socks. A nurse will put a needle into your forearm so your anesthetic can be administered.

I don't remember the combination of medications I was given. In fact I don't remember much of anything. I don't remember the test, I don't remember my time in the recovery room. My first memory is seeing my wife and having her help me get dressed to take me home.

Apparently my memory was impaired for a few hours. My wife tells me I asked her the same  question about my test at least seven times. Later in the day my memory returned. Although the test went well, a polyp was removed. This has a potential financial as well as medical consequence.

From a financial standpoint an insurance company can reclassify the procedure from a screening procedure to a diagnostic procedure. If this happens you could be liable for additional out of pocket expenses.

From a medical standpoint the Mayo Clinic says this about polyps:
"A colon polyp is a small clump of cells that forms on the lining of the colon. Most colon polyps are harmless. But over time, some colon polyps can develop into colon cancer, which is often fatal when found in its later stages......Colon polyps often don't cause symptoms. It's important to have regular screening tests, such as a colonoscopy, because colon polyps found in the early stages can usually be removed safely and completely. The best prevention for colon cancer is regular screening for polyps."

Given all that's required to prepare for a colonoscopy and the expense involved, It's not in the least bit surprising to me that:
"A survey of 997 middle-aged adults published in GI & Hepatology News revealed that only 38 percent of those advised by a primary care doctor to get a colonoscopy did so.

That's a sad statistic because colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), colon cancer kills about 52,000 people in the United States every year.

If you don't want to go through the invasive colonoscopy testing, ask your doctor for a stool based test. 

Those of us who understand the importance of prostate cancer screening should not neglect colon cancer screening.

Please share this post with your friends and family who are fifty or older. It could save someone's life.

Note: This article appeared in Prostate Cancer News Today 

Rick Redner and his wife Brenda Redner wrote two award winning books. The first:
provides men and couples with information and support before, during and after prostate surgery.

Their second book was written after the couple dealt with erectile dysfunction for four years following Rick's double nerve sparing surgery. The book was written for men and couples coping with erectile dysfunction. The title of their book is:

Friday, January 12, 2018

Why Cancer Survivors Shouldn't Make New Year's Resolutions

If you are a cancer survivor, I urge you to forget about New Year's resolutions. Set goals instead. Find out why in my article in Prostate Cancer News Today.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Do You Know Who's on Your Cancer Committee

Everyone has a committee comprised of influential people in our in minds. These folks  provide us with a running commentary about our lives. Meet a few folks on my cancer committee, then discover who's on your committee.
Check out my article at: