In January 2013, I elected to undergo a bi-lateral mastectomy. I had DCIS in my left breast found by a conscientious radiologist in a routine mammogram. I had a preventive screening that lead to a preventive treatment option.
Two months ago I woke up Saturday morning in Poland with a substantial amount of bright red blood exiting from my backside. It subsided by midday allowing me to wait until I returned to America to deal with the situation.
A visit to my valued internist resulted in a reccommendation to have a colonoscopy since he could not determine exact problem. Off I went to the gastroenterologist who felt it was most likely an ... ahem ...internal hemoroid. Yuck. However, we mutually agreed to move forward with the colonoscopy since I will be that magic age fifty next year anyway.
"Well, it is a good thing you came in" said the experienced gastroenterologist. Surprisingly, he removed a couple polyps of which neither was (thankfully) malignant. However, the large polyp was the kind in which most colon cancer originates. I am now on the 3 year colonoscopy schedule not the routine 10 year after age 50 approach. I did not ignore my symptoms and a routine screening test stopped what could have been. I will not miss that next screening in 3 years.
AND I have also had a couple Mohs procedures on my face for removal of basil-cell carcinoma. While definitely not life threatening, the spots on my forehead were found when I went in for a routine dermatologist check up. My fair complexion had zero sun screen the first 25 years of my life and common sense dictates prudent attention from my practical dermatologist.
So to all my friends and family who are aging with me: schedule your preventive screenings, keep your appointments and follow up on any needed treatments.
A holiday message from my soapbox - sent with loads of Love!