Thursday, February 26, 2015

My Medical Week

This has been medical week for me as I had prostate and colon examinations. 

I know what you're thinking. Ugh!

Neither are pleasant procedures but can be life-saving in the course of a person's life. They are used to detect signs of cancer and other abnormalities.

I visited the urologist because my PSA (prostate-specific antigen) was on the high side of normal on a previous exam a few months ago. This time it was well within the normal range. 

I had the digital rectal exam and my walnut-sized prostate was normal. More importantly, there were no nodules. I'll be back for another exam in 12 months.

The day after the prostate exam, I was on a liquid diet in preparation for a colonoscopy. It also involved a mega amount of laxatives to cleanse my intestines. As you can surmise, I spent a considerable amount of time on the toilet. 

I went to the hospital the next day to have a colonoscopy, which involves inserting a colonoscope (a thin tube with a camera attached at the end) in my colon, which transmits images to a screen and lets the doctor see if there are any polyps. 

Polyps are small growths that can develop into cancer. Most folks remember former President Reagan undergoing the procedure back in the 1980s and doctors finding polyps. That was the first time I was aware of that type of exam. 

My exam was clean, so to speak. By the way, it lasted about 20 minutes and I was asleep the entire time, so if you're concerned about your personal dignity, they're in and out before you know it, and you're on your way home after a short recovery period. (My wife and I went to Cracker Barrel before going home.) 

I won't need a colonoscopy for another 10 years unless I notice any abnormalities that merit another exam. I was also polyp-free on my previous exam in 20o5.

I know a lot of folks who don't look forward to these types of examinations. Guys have prostate exams; women have pelvic exams. And we both have colonoscopies. No fun, but necessary. 

And there is a peace of mind in knowing that these exams can save lives. I know quite a few folks who are cancer survivors because these exams detected early stages of that dreaded disease.

According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men. It estimates that 222,800 will be detected this year, and there will be 27,540 deaths. One in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, according to ACS.

Colon cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in men and women. ACS estimates there will be 93,090 new colon cancer cases this year as well as 39,610 rectal cancer diagnoses. It also notes that a person has a 5 percent of developing those cancers in their lifetime so the odds are slim that you will develop this cancer. But the adage better safe than sorry is something to seriously consider.

Also, March is Colon Cancer Cancer Awareness Month and National Prostate Health Month is September.

I hope this post will encourage you to take advantage of medical exams for your healthy well-being.

Until the next time...

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