Friday, May 15, 2009

Get Screened For Colon Cancer

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) released this video, a PSA (Public Service Announcement), of actor Terrence Howard talking about his mother's death from colon cancer. It promotes getting screened, that is, getting scoped (a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy) if you're 50 or older. I think it's a great idea - both the PSA and the scope.

This PSA works. It has all the necessary ingredients: good info, delivered simply - by someone with broader appeal than a doc in a lab coat. It's emotional. It implies that having good health coverage can't cure everything. And it ends with something someone can do.

I commented the above on the CDC's new Facebook page, which they started on May 1. For 13 days, the only thing they posted about was Swine Flu. So I commented, asking why they were focused solely on this one communicable disease, to the exclusion of all other diseases, notably the chronic ones - heart disease, diabetes, cancer - which kill more people in one day than swine flu has probably killed since its discovery. Shortly after that comment, this video appeared. Circumstantial, I know, but I'm going to think the CDC, and perhaps other government agencies, can be responsive to the public. Go have your say on Facebook.


RB said...

Screening is a good thing. However, doctors don't council prevention. They should tell patience to eat less red meat and more veggies to reduce their risk of colon cancer. Testing doesn't prevent cancer. It only detects it after the fact. Doctors have a vested interest in testing: lab fees. They don't get paid for prevention.

Bix said...

Boy, there's a bag of good conversation in what you wrote, RB.

Screenings are money-makers, and are abused. They're one reason healthcare spending is out of control. But they can be useful too. It puts the patient in a bind (pts with third-party payers that is). I think one good colon test (on top of a fecal test), post-50, is a good idea.

And that diet prescription you give, less red meat ... that's a tough one. There are people who believe it's not less - but more - red meat, and more meat in general, that prevents colon cancer. (I'm not one of them.)

Anonymous said...

Actually colon cancer screening can find PRE-CANCEROUS polyps, and then they're removed. So in that sense, it truly can prevent colon cancer. That's why it's so important to be screened.

Bix said...

Cutting them out ... Respectfully, there does comes a time in your life when your options narrow to having a surgeon follow them around your body to cut them out. Actually, if that's still an option, you're ahead of the game.