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Have you hugged your colon today?

It’s mid-March, and that can mean only one thing on this blog: It’s National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. That means it’s also time for me to parade out a photo of my fine-looking colon to get your attention. Yes, that is my actual colon on the left, as photographed by my kick-butt (pun intended) gastroenterologist. (Be thankful I limit my coverage to still photos.)

Why am I so passionate about something that many people (wrongly) feel ashamed to talk about? Because I would rather talk about this disease and pay attention to this disease than die of it, which is what my mother did just about 30 years ago at the ripe old age of only 47. So, listen up, people.

If caught early, colon cancer is a curable disease. If not caught early, it will kill you. Sometimes very quickly. My mother had months not years, and not very good months considering what they did to try to save her. So, for your health, for your family, for anyone who cares about you, go get a colonoscopy as soon as you can if you are over 50 and have never had one, or if you are under 50 but have a family history of colon cancer or any diseases of the colon. It is not as bad as you would imagine. Really. I’ve had four so far and the advances they’ve made in the prep work that needs to be done is remarkable. The first two experiences were like night and day, and I can honestly say that I no longer fear the next one, which, I am happy to say, has been moved out from every two-to-three years to every five years, thanks to my sterling record.

In addition to getting a test to makes sure you don’t already have colon cancer or the polyps that can lead to cancer, you can also take some steps to try to prevent colon cancer. Increase fiber, decrease meat. Yes, that’s right. Cut down on meat. It’s something I need to remember. There was a time I was a vegetarian precisely for this reason, but now I’ve gotten lazy and complacent and pile on the animal fat with abandon. Not good. Red meat, especially, is no friend to the colon. Cut it out or at least cut it down. High fat diets aren’t so great either. Click HERE to read about dietary suggestions for colon health.

If you want more information on the signs and symptoms of colon cancer, testing, prevention and more, go to the American Cancer Society by clicking HERE. Now, go call your doctor and make an appointment before I put up photos of someone’s unhealthy colon just to scare you.

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