Despite all of the age and gender guidelines, when it comes to colon cancer, the truth is that it can and does strike women - and that it can strike even in your early twenties. Colon cancer doesn’t care how old you are, where you live or how much money you make.
Women will often avoid having tests to check for colon cancer - even with a family history, thinking they’re too young or feel too healthy. The truth is that colon cancer is a silent disease until the cancer has grown and then it makes its presence known.
At first, you might start to notice some things that aren’t part of your normal routine. You might start to notice that when you have a bowel movement, you don’t feel like you were completely finished.
You might start to notice that you’re struggling with constipation or bouts of diarrhea. You might notice the size, shape and color of your bowel movements are different from what they used to be.
You might start to realize that you’ve had a lot more gas than you normally have had in the past or you feel swollen or bloated or have cramps. You may notice a low backache or feel a nagging pain in your side.
Most women have a tendency to dismiss those symptoms, thinking that colon cancer is a man’s disease or that it’s something that only happens to the elderly. Both of those beliefs are wrong.
Any time anything changes with your bowel habits, you should always see your doctor. If he tells you that you’re ‘too young’ for colon cancer or that because you don’t have a family history of the disease, you don’t need to be tested yet, you need to ignore him.
While having a family history of the disease certainly increases your odds of getting the disease, colon cancer happens even among women with no family history of the disease. If you’ve noticed changes, if you feel tired, if you’re losing weight without trying or you’ve seen blood in the toilet after a bowel movement, you need to be tested for colon cancer.
Many women avoid having the procedure done because the process of having to drink the liquid to empty the intestines is inconvenient and no one wants to spend an evening running back and forth to the bathroom. They might shy away from having the testing done out of a feeling of embarrassment.
But the truth is that getting tested for cancer is nothing to be embarrassed about and a small inconvenience can save your life. It can give you years to experience the joy and happiness of being around your loved ones and of letting your friends and family enjoy being around you.
With the availability of today’s screening tests and colonoscopy procedures, you can beat the odds against this disease. As a woman, don’t fall for the common misconception that this is a man’s disease – take precautions to protect your health.
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