Colon Cancer: Largely Preventable

Let's start off by saying colon cancer is the s-l-o-w-e-s-t growing cancer out there! That is one positive quality to colon cancer, and it's the only positive quality. Well, that's partly true: colon cancer is also a cancer that if caught early is 'easy' to treat. It takes 10 years for a colon cancer to grow from an initial 'polyp' to stage 4 colon cancer- where the person will be graveyard dead inside of 6 months- and there's nothing that can be done to alter that course (given current technology). Biggest problem for most people: the patient has to actually do the colonoscopy 'prep' and show up for the test.


For those reasons, 'typical' screenings for colon cancer start at age '50' the big 5-0. People with a family history of 'severe' colon cancer can start screenings in their teens, when the history is particularly bad. That said, that 'typical 5-0' number has been 'violated' by a number of our patients. They waited, claiming we were 'bugging' them. We were! They claimed they had no family history. At age 50, it did not matter. Two patients even bet us 'good money' ($1) that they would pop negative on a colon cancer screening colonoscopy.


One patient had 6 polyps that were positive, and cleanly removed, so that they would not be dead in under 10 years. The other patient had over 20 polyps- all safely removed, and recall this person had 'no family histiory' of any colon cancer! Reminds us of our friend 'Rodney' who looked up his family tree- he found out he was the family sap! We made 2 bucks, and adjusted our red ties! 'I tell you- we get no respect!'


Some of what all of this proves, is we can't rely on family history. We've also got to remember that denial is not a large river in Egypt! It's how many (most) people deal with stressful situations!

The Army Way

In the Army they taught us the difference between 'Insertion' (where you send IN troops), and 'Evacuation', (where you send OUT or remove the troops), and they return safely to home. The anal region is usually known as an ''Evacuation' only site. It's the opposite of an 'Insertion' site, and as such has most reasonable people concerned when we want to 'Insert' something into their 'Evacuation' zone!!

Doctor Oz's Experience (an 'every man' experience)

To quote Doctor Mehmet Oz, 'Im a fine physician, but a horrible patient!' Mister Oz failed to meet the usual expectations of Doctor Oz! Physicians and other health care providers are known as some of the worst patients when it comes to non-compliance and denial!


Yet, at age 50, Doctor Oz, escorted Mister Oz for his first colonoscopy: it was abnormal. While he tried to corner him, encourage him, and otherwise direct him to wise and thoughtful care, Doctor Oz failed to get Mister Oz to follow-up on his abnormal colonoscopy results for 9 more months! That denial behavior would make Mister Oz---typical!


It was good that Doctor Oz won out. Mister Oz had another polyp that had been missed on the first exam, because Mister Oz had believed he was 'too healthy' and did not need to follow the exactness of the required prep- so the entire colon could be accurately seen.


Health care providers, like many of our 'very smart' patients can 'over-think' and 'out-think' and deny their own human condition and 'normalacy' and eventually when tested, discover, they too have a 'common' human condition. That discovered condition can be 'helped', or 'cured' but only with their cooperation and their humility.


Recognize your own humanity, and admit that it will be best served by wisdom and humility.