Consumer Reports recently submited a report stating that only a few cancer screening tests were truly necessary. The writer offers excuses such as not beneficial, causing unneeded scares and paranoia, and financially not worth it. As a cancer survivor I know all too well the importance of catching a developing cancer as early as possible. There is no early detection for Hodgkin’s Disease and it is rare enough that it is difficult to diagnose and often misdiagnosed by something as simple as the common cold (yes, that was my original diagnosis).
When all is said and done, try explaining to a family who in spite of health benefits cannot afford the extremely expensive treatments because the cancer diagnosed was not caught earlier by detection and could have been treated at a less cost. There are actually some in our society who would even make the argument that too much money, and too many tests get performed. I know that my heart surgery, would not have cost over $100,000 had I been followed up as they do today for late effects because the issue would have been caught sooner and perhaps a bypass would not have been needed..
For now, screenings are available, and they do benefit us. And we should have them. Women have their boobs smashed in searching for breast cancer (a service that I was willing to perform free of charge when I was younger and single). They even climb up on a table with a papercloth gown exposing their girly bits once their legs are placed up in stirrups. Of course, there are skin cancer screenings.
But when it comes to men, we are a little funny about that stuff. We have a lot more confidence in our health that we find such things as prostate screenings and colonscopies are unnecessary. The last thing we need to tell us we are sick is having a finger or camera shoved up our ass. Besides, and I am not saying that I believe this, but there are men that do, that it might have some… well… homosexual connotations by having these exams done to them. Me personally, I have always been of the mindset, I do not want anything going in through the out door.
Again, a personal note, I know dozens of people who have battled colon cancer, and too many that have died. My cancer treatments that I went through run the possibilities of developing a secondary cancer, perhaps colon cancer. A colonoscopy would be beneficial to me. In fairness, my doctors have not pushed me until now, my friends urged me years ago.
I love this blog, Paul’s Heart. I am not about sensationalism, so I have no plans of videotaping my colonoscopy. If I end up being this major baby and I got to destroy it and cannot, I do not want that leaked out. But with my wife by my side, she will help dictate the things that are done, said by the staff, said by me, recovery, and trip home.
That is right, in just one and a half days, I will be going through not only a colonoscopy, but completing the “pig on the spit” image, an endoscopy. I have had an endoscope done before where they go down your throat. It was no big deal. And after having gone through a cystoscopy (putting a camera up the manliest of parts) done, and that they made me do without anesthesia, never again I tell you. But it has prepared me that I can handle the colonoscopy.
So what has changed my mind? What are the risks for and against? I have lost too many friends to colon cancer. My body was exposed to too much when I was treated for Hodgkin’s Disease. Contrary to a magazine that should probably stick to writing about microwave ovens and stereo systems, I have two of the most important reasons to pursue any cancer screening available to me, no matter the results or the risks, my daughters.
I know the risks involved with a colonscopy and an endoscopy. I also know the risks with my past health history. But I am getting these done in the best facility I have faith in. I believe I have the best doctor performing these procedures. And though these are fairly common procedures, something can go wrong. I have faith in the doctor and her team that if something does go wrong, I am in the best possible place to handle such. I can handle any more of a diagnosis I may get, or be completely revealed that all I have to deal with is from the scan last week.
The rest is up to me. I need to follow the prophylactic care prescribed, and the caution I am given in my recovery. Other than that, it is up to my body and its physiology, of which I realize I have no control how things act and react. My plan is to be back here by Wednesday night. And though I have no intention of becoming the colonoscopy spokesboy, I do anticipate being able to say, it was “no big deal” and glad to have had it done and be sure.
Time for me to “Man Up.”