Colon cancer claims the lives of over 50,000 Americans each year. That statistic just seems to roll off our backs until it affects someone we know or someone we admire. When cancer affects a celebrated athlete who seems invincible, it is difficult to accept. However, it is a sobering reminder that colon cancer can truly affect anyone. No one that is immune to this disease; and nobody is too young, too healthy or too athletic to develop colon cancer.
Recently, the NFL lost one of its most talented players and role models. Ken Stabler, former Oakland Raiders quarterback, passed away July 8, 2015 due to complications from colon cancer. Stabler threw for 27,938 yards over his 15-year career and ended with a 96-49-1 record as a starting quarterback. He led the Raiders to victory in Super Bowl XI and earned the MVP award in 1974 and four trips to the Pro Bowl.
John Madden, former Raiders coach, deeply felt the loss of Stabler’s leadership and legacy. “I was head coach of the Raiders the entire time Kenny was there, and he led us to a whole bunch of victories, including one in Super Bowl XI. I’ve often said, if I had one drive to win a game to this day, and I had a quarterback to pick, I would pick Kenny…When you think about the Raiders, you think about Ken Stabler. Kenny loved life. It is a sad day for all Raiders” (Source: ESPN).
Although we all are saddened by Stabler’s passing, there is a great deal of hope knowing that colon cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer. A colonoscopy can not only detect polyps, lesions and abnormalities, but precancerous polyps can be removed during the procedure so they never become cancerous. Colonoscopies are one of the only types of cancer screenings that can actually prevent cancer as well as detect it.
Maybe you are uneasy about scheduling your baseline colonoscopy. Then read our Preparing for a Colonoscopy page. Or maybe you know nothing about colonoscopies, and you would benefit from our FAQs page. Are you nervous about the bowel preparation? There have been new developments in the preparation process that now allow a split-dose which makes the cleansing process more palatable and effective.
If you have never made an appointment for a colonoscopy or if you are overdue for your next screening, stop putting it off. If colon cancer is found in the early stages, it is over 90 percent treatable. This disease does not need to be the third leading cause of cancer death in the United States, so let’s do our part to take responsibility for our own health and wellness. Visit your primary care physician regularly, and schedule routine colonoscopies so you can prevent colon cancer.