Twelve years ago at the age of thirty, I was having multiple digestive problems. I happen to get a referral to a gastrointestinal doctor, Dr. Floyd Angus with Sumter Gastroenterology in Sumter South Carolina.
He decided to order an upper GI, but then added that while he was doing the upper, he might as well check out the lower. This decision definitely made a huge impact in my life.
Turns out, the “lower” was having some issues. He discovered nine colon polyps.
When actor Chadwick Boseman passed away from a four year battle with colon cancer in 2020, I was reminded of how lucky I was, that by chance, Dr Angus ordered a colonoscopy for someone my age.
To date, I have gotten five colonoscopies. My fifth one actually occurred today. They found fifteen polyps. FIFTEEN! I now have to get another colonoscopy in a year, instead of every three years.
I write this in thanks to an amazing doctor that made a split second decision that ultimately saved me. My future could have been much like Chadwick Boseman. I really was sadden by his death.
It is my personal belief, because of so many other young people that have been affected by colon cancer, that there needs to be more awareness to this topic. With more young people being diagnosed with colon cancer, why are we waiting till the age of fifty for routine screenings? According to a 2020 article from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center “What young adults need to know about colorectal cancer” :
the disease is rising sharply in people ages 18 to 35, a population that is years away from getting their first screening colonoscopy. Colorectal cancer screening isn’t recommended until age 45 or 50 for most peopleBY DANIELLE UNDERFERTH
This is a scary statistic, especially when there can sometimes be no symptoms till it’s too late.
My current gastrointestinal doctor is definitely concerned about how many polyps I had this go around. He referred to me as a “polyp producer”. The recommended once a year colonoscopy for me is a bummer, but so is being dead.
For those of you that haven’t had the luxury of experiencing a colonoscopy, the procedure itself, isn’t bad at all. It’s the prep for it the day before that is pretty sucky. It consist of an all liquid diet and then laxatives. I literally lost four pounds in a day.
The day of the test they administer anesthesia and then you wake up and it’s over. There’s no pain associated with it, just a little exhaustion from the pervious nights festivities and the reminisce of the anesthesia.
I’m now forty two. I am thankful everyday for Dr. Angus and my current doctor. Hopefully more doctors will push for colonoscopies for young people and for insurance to cover them.