A Public Service Announcement from The Madwoman on a Spring Break Mini Staycation:
Is the rectum a grave? It might be if you don’t get screened for colorectal cancer. And of course nobody wants to do that or think about that because digestion and elimination are even more shattering to the self than sex is, but you gotta think about it and do it, kids. Why? I’ll let my pal Janet Golden, whose best friend Joanie died of colon cancer, tell you:
[A]ccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. In terms of gender, it is an equal opportunity killer. In terms of race, it is not. More African American men and women die of colon cancer than do their white, American Indian/Alaska Native, Hispanic, and Asian/Pacific Islander counterparts (although plenty of them die as well). Health disparities is a major problem we need to address. For more information visit the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health.
Now, here’s the good news. According to the CDC, “if everybody aged 50 and over had regular screening tests, as many as 60% of deaths from colorectal cancer could be prevented.”
My father died at 60 from colon cancer that had already metastasized to his lymph nodes before it was detected, so the need for awareness and screening has been on my mind for decades. I’ve long felt that what colon cancer really needed was a skilled PR agent, someone who could make cleansing and probing around the digestive tract sound more exotic and thrilling than it actually is. Which is why I was delighted to stumble upon a sign for the Love Your Butt campaign, a project of the Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation. Finally, I thought, cleverness has found the colon. Poop-making has found its poet. Yeah, I know: There was this guy, once upon a time, a long time ago, but nowadays you need eye-catching signs, irreverent blogs, and commercials full of people laughing over jaunty ukulele tunes to break through the message clutter and achieve true public awareness. I love this campaign because I firmly believe that humor is a great teacher and that the world would be a better place if people could talk more and laugh loudly about bowel health and well-being. Among other things.
Love Your Butt: It’s an idea we can all get behind. March is National Colon Cancer Awareness Month. Celebrate by showing your butt some love and attention, especially if you are over 50 or otherwise at risk for colorectal cancer.
Love Your Butt: Because it would be really dumb to die from embarrassment, wouldn’t it?