I’m irritated. I’ve been watching the NFL for the past two weekends donning pink wristbands, pink hats, pink fucking everything due to October being Breast Cancer Awareness month. Now, I’m not about to say that we shouldn’t fight breast cancer. We should. Of course. But all of the pink ribbons are misleading.
Colon Cancer is killing women a hell of a lot faster and I don’t see any colon-colored wrist bands on my nearest quarterback.
Why? Because colons aren’t pretty, ladies and gentlemen.
My grandmother died of colon cancer. We only recently found that out even though it happened in the 70’s. For all those years we thought she died of ovarian and uterine cancer thanks to the medieval levels of research women’s health has suffered over the years. So my Mom and my Aunts had hysterectomies and ovectomies as preventative measures…that ultimately, turns out….weren’t necessary.
So I’m irritated. And concerned.
Some fast facts via the CDC:
– Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States behind only lung cancer.
– Findings from CDC’s 2000 National Health Interview Survey indicate that many people who are at risk for colorectal cancer are not being screened. Although screening rates are beginning to rise, they remain too low to achieve the Healthy People 2010 objective for reducing mortality from colorectal cancer. In 2004, about 57% of adults aged 50 years or older reported having received a fecal occult blood test (FOBT) within 1 year and/or a lower endoscopy within 10 years of being surveyed by CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, compared with 54% of adults surveyed in 2002.
– A CDC study demonstrated that about 41.8 million average-risk people aged 50 or older have not been screened for colorectal cancer according to national guidelines.
The U.S. health care system has enough capacity to conduct widespread screening of the unscreened population, using FOBT and diagnostic colonoscopy for those with a positive FOBT.
Widespread screening with flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy may take up to 10 years, depending on the proportion of available capacity used for colorectal cancer screening.
Yes, colons are gross. And nobody wants to get a look at their own let alone have someone else do it.
So I’m irritated. I’m irritated that once again, women are suffering due to another example of the prettiness factor. Save the breast! Ignore the colon. I’m irritated that Colon Cancer Awareness folks haven’t found a Susan G. Komen style way of going about things. I’m irritated that grown-ass adults are being chicken shit about doing something for themselves that can save their lives. I’m incredibly irritated that rather than donating the ungodly amounts of money the NFL spent on Breast Cancer Awareness month to cancer research, they used it to don pink sports accessories in the name of “awareness.” We’re aware! We’re aware! I can’t eat a goddamn yogurt without being aware. But we are not aware of colon cancer like we should be.
And I can say that, because I’ve had a colonoscopy. Now, of course, it isn’t recommended that you get one regularly or even your first one until you are in your 40’s or 50’s. I had a…shall we say….situation that required testing. So no, it wasn’t part of my yearly physical. But no matter the reason I went in, it’s the same test. It was me and 10 50-something men in their black socks and hospital gowns with our pride in the locker room.
I can’t tell you how much it kills me to admit that I have required and proceeded to have a colonoscopy. I like to walk around in lipstick and heels and not talk about poop. But my grandmother’s body betrayed her. My whole family is at risk. So I don’t have the luxury of appearing glamorous or even socially acceptable.
And darling, neither do you.
Tell your parents and loved ones to get screened. Nobody else is going to tell them.