MARCH IS COLON CANCER AWARENESS MONTH!
COLTS NECK, NJ: 8 years ago today, I was going in for a colon resection to remove the colon cancer that was found by Dr Boyle from Red Bank Gastroenterology at my colonoscopy at 50. This was the 2nd time Dr Boyle saved my life. The first time was back in 1987 when diagnosed with celiac disease, an allergy to gluten.
My son, Tom Battista left Va Tech early for his spring break to be with me. While I was in the surgery prep room (pictured below), Tom joked about me texting to keep my mind otherwise occupied on getting the cancer out of me ASAP.
At the time, my fight against cancer was foremost in my brain, I did not realize that March 1st is the start of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.
Other things that I learned at the time:
1. That Colorectal Cancer is the #2 leading cause of cancer deaths in the US
2. That 1 in 20 people are diagnosed with colon cancer, and I was that 1 in 20. Today, this is now 1 in 23 for men and 1 in 25 for woman. We are making progress!
3. That it is one of the most preventable cancers
4. That 1 in 3 people between the age of 50 and 75 are behind on their screenings, and I was not that 1 in 3
5. That Red Bank Gastro had a team in the Colorectal Cancer Alliance's Jersey Shore #UndyRunWalk in Long Branch in July, but I was unable to participate that 1st year due to chemo whipping my butt. But I have participated every year since with family and friends. Please join me on July 25th at Undy RunWalkat the Jersey Shore!
My motto at the time: I had cancer It never had me!
As I had no symptoms when diagnosed with stage 3 from surgery, I advocate with the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, and Red Bank Gastroenterology. I obtain proclamations from #ColtsNeck, and #MonmouthCounty to raise awareness about March being Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. (photos). Dress in Blue Day is Friday, March 6th. At the Colts Neck reading, I was joined by a fellow survivor, Mario Geneve and at the Monmouth County Freeholder meeting, I was joined by Nurse Bonnie Woodward and Dr Howard Hampel from Red Bank Gastroenterology.
Did I motivate you to get screened yet? I hope so, as I did everything right at the time by being screened at 50. The new guideline calls for screening at 45, and maybe if I had at that time, my cancer would have only been a precancerous polyp as it is a slow growing cancer. I had my cancer for 5 to 10 years at the time of diagnosis. Had I not gone for a colonoscopy when I did, my cancer would have likely caused a blockage landing me in the ER.
I leave with 4 very important words: #BeSeenGetScreened!