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Gut Check

Mar 15, 2013 08:29PM ● By Anonymous

According to the American Cancer Society, the chance of developing colorectal cancer is approximately 1 in 20. The risk of being diagnosed with colorectal cancer increases with age; more than 90 percent of cases occur in people ages 50 or older. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 140,000 Americans will be diagnosed this year and 50,000 will die. The CDC also believes that 60 percent of those fatalities could be avoided. Colorectal cancer is one of the easiest cancers to discover early, even before symptoms occur. (Of course, if you experience any new or troubling digestive issues, always check with your internist or gastroenterologist.)

In most colon cancer cases, the cancer develops slowly over time. It usually starts as a polyp—a tiny growth of tissue that starts on the lining of the colon and grows toward the center of the colon. With regular screenings, these polyps can readily be detected and removed (painlessly, no recovery required) before they turn into cancer.

Of course when we say “screenings,” we all know what we’re talking about—a colonoscopy. And let’s face it: there is a pretty high “ick” factor with that test…or rather the prep for the test, since you won’t remember a thing about the test itself, thanks to some marvelously effective sedation. But the night before and the morning of can get a bit “volatile.” But here’s a whole new way to look at the experience. There are certain cultures that advocate the healthy habit of a thorough cleanse. And celebrities and jetsetters have been known to pay large amounts of money to be pampered at some of the world’s most exclusive spas and health retreats in just such a manner. So when your thoughtful sister-in-law is driving you home from your next colonoscopy, just pretend you are European royalty, blissfully free from all those age-related toxins.