PSA Colon Cancer

Discussion in 'Fred's Barcalounge' started by drmilktruck, Aug 11, 2021.

  1. drmilktruck

    drmilktruck I Bleed Orange

    May 17, 2009
    Plymouth, MN
    I generally avoid commenting on my job, but this week I've had two patients in their 50s die of colon cancer and it affected me. Neither had been screened at age 50 (now age 45) as recommended and both presented with symptoms at a time when the cancer had already spread widely and was not curable. Neither had a family history. Both could have lived long lives if they had only gotten a colonoscopy earlier, as they were otherwise healthy. It affected me so much as I'm that age and couldn't imagine dying now and not seeing (hopefully) 30 more years of life. Missing out on grandchildren, traveling about with my wife post-retirement, working in my workshop, maybe even learning to play the guitar with some skill and much more.

    So, if you haven't, get screened regularly as recommended, starting at age 45, earlier if a family history. Your future self will thank you.
     
  2. DaddyDog

    DaddyDog Country Gent

    Sep 18, 2011
    Mississauga, Canada
    Absolutely. I have two friends that caught trouble early enough to deal with it. Get'r done.
     
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  3. Ricochet

    Ricochet Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    I’m 55, I had my share of prostrate checks. Never for Colon cancer though. What are the telltale symptoms, if any?
     
  4. drmilktruck

    drmilktruck I Bleed Orange

    May 17, 2009
    Plymouth, MN
    Rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, change in bowel habits (usually new onset constipation, but can be new diarrhea as well), unintentional weight loss.
     
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  5. Ricochet

    Ricochet Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Tnx Jim, I’ll make a mental note.
     
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  6. stevo

    stevo Friend of Fred

    May 1, 2012
    Atlanta
    My GI doc says the exact same thing - sees it all the time and it's unnecesssary.
     
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  7. GlenP

    GlenP Country Gent

    Jul 23, 2019
    WA
    I had no symptoms of any kind but went in for a routine exam at age 50. I had a few suspicious polyps removed, biopsy was negative, but one was almost large enough that they might have had to do more invasive surgery to completely remove it, more so than an appendectomy, because a larger section would have been removed in that same area. They were able to perform the procedure through the scope thankfully.
     
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  8. gtttrrr

    gtttrrr Country Gent

    Age:
    53
    Dec 7, 2011
    United States
    What’s your take on Cologuard test, instead of the “big scope”? Asking for a friend… and for my behind…..:rolleyes::eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::cool:
     
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  9. capnhiho

    capnhiho Country Gent

    Feb 16, 2013
    California
    I’m not a doctor but, at my advanced age, have undergone several ‘scope jobs. The first two involved polyp removal but I’ve been “clean” since. I’m now on a 10-year colonoscopy cycle with Cologard tests in between. All exams have been negative for the last 15+ years.

    Personally I feel that the Cologard tests are a good backup IF you have a history of real colonoscopies as a baseline.

    C’mon and man up! It’s only an exam…
    that could save your life!!
     
  10. ruger9

    ruger9 Country Gent

    Nov 1, 2008
    NJ
    I've heard really positive things about Cologuard, both it's accuracy & sensitivity. Honestly, I'm interested just because of the hassle... make appt, take a day off work, someone else has to drive.... the easier something is to do, the more likely I am to DO it. And that's the whole point, right?
     
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  11. AZBrahma

    AZBrahma Gretschie

    401
    Dec 18, 2020
    Arizona
    I'm just now coming of age where I have to start getting 'all the things' inspected. Naturally, I'm not looking forward to it. I've hedged my bets in a huge way. I still train aerobically at least 4 times a week at medium to high intensity, eat an almost entirely vegan diet, hardly drink and only on occasion, don't smoke, and am all but immune to stress. The only dumb thing I do is be outside all the time in the AZ sun without sunscreen, but I have a dark complexion and it's really the only thing I'm not willing to sacrifice as I LOVE my outdoor sun and heat time. I almost think if something does go South at my age with my lifestyle, that my number is up and that's that. Of course, I say that after losing a friend with a similar lifestyle to cancer before he was even 50. I'm now the age he was when he died. Screw cancer, indeed.
     
  12. AZBrahma

    AZBrahma Gretschie

    401
    Dec 18, 2020
    Arizona
  13. Archtops

    Archtops Country Gent

    Mar 4, 2021
    SoCal
    I get a colonoscopy every 2-3 years. Everyone just do it! The only uncomfortable part is the stuff you have to drink prior to the colonoscopy. That and not eating.
    This will save your life so you can resume your dreams.
     
  14. ruger9

    ruger9 Country Gent

    Nov 1, 2008
    NJ
    How did you figure that one out? That's been my mission for years, but most especially in the last 2-3. And I'm making headway, but always want to make more...
     
  15. AZBrahma

    AZBrahma Gretschie

    401
    Dec 18, 2020
    Arizona
    People have been asking me this for years, and it's a strange question to answer. Work is normally the catalyst for stress these days, and I've watched people who have been dumbfounded by my ability to just shrug it off. It comes down to a couple of things I think. One, is the stressor within your control? If not, you can only do your part and let the rest fall where it may, no point in trying to control or worry about it. Just calmly deal with what comes since you can't do anything about it. Two, what is the consequence of the situation that is stressing you whether you stick the landing or go down in flames? Is someone going to lose their life on account of you? Will anything be irretrievably lost forever? Do you need it to survive anyway or is it just stuff and/or status, filler that you don't really need to be happy? Will you be homeless or destitute overnight? Is there a real, painful, lasting consequence? In 99% of scenarios the answer is 'no'.

    To be sure there are times when the answer is yes, and those seems like perfectly reasonable stressors. But ask yourself those questions and think about it for a moment after stopping to take a deep breath when you get stressed. It takes practice but has worked for me.

    Stress will straight up kill you. My best friend wears his stress like a monkey on his back, and he has had substantial medical problems because of it. He just can't let it go, and his stressor answers would all be 'no'. He's a brother to me and I worry about the guy.

    EDIT: Oh yeah...a good book worth a read: "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k". Good stuff in there.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2021
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  16. GretschPraise

    GretschPraise Gretschie

    239
    Jun 26, 2017
    Tampa Bay
    Timely thread. I have a buddy (70ish) moving into hospice this week. Stage 4 bowel cancer. I'm 65 and have had two colonoscopies and will continue to do so every 4 years. Same thing with prostate. I do the annual bloodwork and manual exam. Nobody enjoys them but they can save your life.
     
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  17. tartanphantom

    tartanphantom Friend of Fred

    Age:
    58
    Jul 30, 2008
    Murfreesboro, TN
    Agreed. I'm much the same way. It always helps to have a career that you love (as in my case). And keeping the philosophy in mind that as humans, we need to work to live, but not the reverse. Yes, it is possible to love what you do but at the same time not let it drag you down. And don't stress about things that you have no control over. I've worked at the same place for 21 years, but it never gets old to me.
     
  18. ruger9

    ruger9 Country Gent

    Nov 1, 2008
    NJ
    Thanks for replying, I know it's hard to tell people "how you do it", because it's not a set of instructions, you have to actually re-wire how you think and respond to stuff.

    And YES! The Subtle Art... is one of the gateway books I read that started me on this journey. Another fantastic one, OLD, is Dale Carnegie's "How To Stop Worrying and Start Living". Written decades ago. Some people are turned off by the "Subtle Art" book for some reason. My journey eventually lead me to Taosim, which is not a religion- it's a philosophy really- and the practice of those tenets (alot of which you typed in your reply, and are also in the books mentioned) has helped me greatly.
     
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  19. drmilktruck

    drmilktruck I Bleed Orange

    May 17, 2009
    Plymouth, MN
    The three colon cancer screening tests - colonoscopy, Cologuard (which checks for cancer DNA in the stool) and FIT (which checks for blood in the stool) - all reduce the death rate from colon cancer, so if you are average risk (meaning no family history of colon cancer or precancerous polyps in first degree relatives) then any one of the three will be fine. The major difference is frequency of testing. Colonoscopy is every ten years if normal, Cologuard is every three years and FIT is yearly. The key, especially for the last two, is to do them regularly according to the above schedule, or as directed by your doctor. Some people get nervous about the 10 year wait between normal colonoscopies, but colon cancer is usually slow growing and progresses through several stages. To go from nothing to a cancer that might kill you takes 10-15 years, so you've got some time. A colonoscopy is needed if either of the other two is abnormal, if you have symptoms as above, if you've had previous precancerous polyps, or have a family history as above.

    For United States members only - Under the ACA, colon cancer screening for average risk people must be covered without cost. However, depending on your insurance, if you have symptoms, require a biopsy, or have an abnormal Cologuard or FIT followed by a colonoscopy, you may have to pay part or all of the bill, as it's no longer preventive under those conditions. (Non-US have no such concerns and probably wonder why health care funding is so crazy in the US. Excellent question and the answer is too complex for this forum, plus I don't want to stray into politics, but I'd be happy to share my thoughts off line.)
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2021
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  20. gtttrrr

    gtttrrr Country Gent

    Age:
    53
    Dec 7, 2011
    United States
    yup, 54 this year, and I’ve only done the Cologuard. Dunno if it’s the wisest move, but it IS a move:rolleyes::cool:
     
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