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Photo by Vonecia Carswell on Unsplash

In last week’s podcast, we talked with Carrie Peck about her journey with colon cancer. Carrie is an amazing person, and we admire her bravery and commitment to educating others about this disease.

She gave us great advice and a lot to think about. Her experience was a wakeup call for women who always put the needs of others before themselves (ahem, most of us). Often, we neglect or ignore health concerns until they become real problems. The excuses are, well, excuses: I’m too busy, I don’t have time, this place will fall apart without me. Do you really believe it? Yes, you might come home to dirty dishes, a dog covered in burs, and the kids eating dry cereal off the kitchen floor, but so what? Go to the phone right now and schedule your annual physical, gynecological exam, dermatologist screening, colonoscopy, etc. As Carrie said, “You’re no good to your family if you’re dead.” Follow the in-flight safety advice, put your oxygen mask on first and then take care of everyone around you.

Remember early detection is essential when it comes to colon cancer. Take steps today to ensure you’ll be around for a long time to come.

Schedule a screening for colorectal cancer.

By age 50, one in four people developed polyps (growths in the colon that could develop into cancer). Talk to your doctor about when you need your first colonoscopy or screening. If you’re over 50 that time is now, right now.

Get comfortable talking about poop.

Yes, it’s awkward talking about bowel movements (unless you’re a 10-year-old boy), but remember it’s your doctor, not the woman in the supermarket checkout line. (Although, I have heard about one or two medical issues while waiting to buy a gallon of milk). Look for persistent changes in bowel habits like constipation and/or diarrhea, abdominal cramping, unexplained weight loss, and blood in your stool. If you spot any of those problems, go to the doctor and tell her all about it.

Know your family medical history.

Carrie was a healthy woman in her early 40s when she was diagnosed, not exactly a primary candidate for colon cancer according to medical literature. It was her family’s history with the disease that made her symptoms more urgent.

Talk to your doctor about unusual symptoms and concerns.

If he/she doesn’t listen, find another doctor.

Keep yourself healthy.

Taking care of yourself doesn’t guarantee a life without illness, but it doesn’t hurt. You know the drill, eat healthily, maintain a healthy weight, don’t smoke, exercise, reduce your stress, and surround yourself with awesome people.

If you want to know more about colorectal cancer detection and prevention, visit the Colon Cancer Coalition.

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