REAL REASONS FROM REAL MAINE PEOPLE
If you're over 50 and haven't had a colonoscopy yet, you've probably got a reason. So did all of the real Maine people featured here. But if you watch their videos or read their stories, we think you'll agree that there are many more good reasons to get screened—most importantly, it can save your life!
As a survivor of colon cancer, I am grateful mine was caught in a very early stage.
In addition to colonoscopies, I am a big believer in routine physical exams, because that is what sparked my diagnosis. My primary care doctor found blood in my stools, and a colonoscopy confirmed I had cancerous polyps.
I had minimally invasive surgery to remove a third of my colon. It healed up very quickly. Now I am doing great, and my doctor just recommended I get a routine colonoscopy every two years—in fact, I just got one a few weeks ago. I promise, they get easier and easier each time.
I first discovered I had a problem on the eve of a trip with friend. I felt a pain in my side, and figured it was appendicitis. It turned out I had colon cancer, which started me on a long and interesting road. Fortunately, they were able to remove my cancer and, despite some setbacks, 20 years later I am in great shape. I play racquetball and bridge. I love to win!
One of the best parts of my journey has been all the great doctors I met. Even though I am fine today, I am still working with one of my doctors on her research on colon cancer.
Both my daughters have been screened early because of my cancer history. I am now on a personal campaign for everyone to get a colonoscopy. The prep is the only part that is at all difficult. The actual procedure is done under anesthesia, so you do not feel a thing!
When someone asks me if it is a good idea to get screened, I have to look them in the eye and ask, "Are you nuts? It could save your life!"
I had none of the symptoms of, or risk factors for, colon cancer, and I did not think I could afford a colonoscopy. So I was lucky I got screened when I did. They found Stage II cancer, and it has taken some great doctors, several surgeries and chemotherapy to treat it successfully. If I had waited any longer, who knows what would have happened.
My brothers were squeamish about getting screened, but my example showed them how important it is. So, now they have gotten scoped, too.
Today I look forward to doing things again that I used to love, like hiking and skiing. Working at a hospital, I see a lot of health problems that could be prevented with screening. I also hear about the stigma of getting a colonoscopy. But I am here to tell you, it is one thing you can not afford not to do. Most insurance plans cover it, and you may even qualify for a free screening.