*If you had the power to save your own life, would you use it?
Morning show host and on-air personality Pat Prescott of LA’s 94.7 The Wave’s Pat and Kim Morning Show used her power, and now her voice to spread the word about the importance of being tested for colorectal cancer, commonly known as colon cancer. The native of Hampton, Virginia has partnered with the American Cancer Society to reach adults 50 years of age and older about a simple test that can save a life.
Colon Cancer is a silent killer and it effects African Americans faster than other races. Prescott changed her destiny when she realized she could either celebrate her birthdays with uncertainty about her health or get screened and prevent the disease from destroying her life. “My 60th birthday was coming up and I felt like it would be silly to go into my 60’s without doing something so simple to ensure that I was healthy,” said Prescott.
Many people don’t know that they have the ability to make a life-changing decision when it comes to colon cancer or they have misconceptions about the colonoscopy procedure. Prescott was no different.
She explained that being healthy, stories from other individuals, and the fact that her last experience with a hospital was when she received stitches as a child, led her to procrastinate and fed into her fears about receiving a colonoscopy. But, this all changed when she had friends dying from colon cancer. She began wondering how she would feel if she were diagnosed with colon cancer, knowing that it could be prevented and knowing the only thing standing between her and death was a screening.
“It was nothing like I thought it was going to be,” said Prescott. Depending on the doctor’s recommendation, the preparation and procedure may be different. She explained, the night before the process she drank 32 ounces of liquid to cleanse her system. She stated that the day of the screening “was really no big deal. That was almost the biggest part of it all.” After Prescott received anesthesia, the next moment she remembered was that it was over. “I almost wondered did they do anything?” Although, Prescott was in a state of oblivion the doctor did do something. In fact, he found a non-cancerous polyp (small growth inside the colon) and removed it while she slept.
After conquering her first screening, Prescott now has her calendar marked for her next check up. In the meantime, she’s taking the initiative to be an advocate for early screening, by rounding up her friends who are due for a test. For those who are still on the fence she says, “Look at yourself in the mirror… and ask yourself ‘Why?’ If you don’t have a really good reason, just consider this: colon cancer screening does save lives, it is a fact. It’s one of the easiest and simplest things we can do to maintain our health and make sure we live longer and healthier. Who wouldn’t want to do that?”
African Americans are 20 percent more likely to get colon cancer. Incidence and mortality rates are about 45 percent higher than those in whites. The most important thing to know is that this disease is preventable and is highly treatable if found early. Ninety percent of patients survive if the cancer is found before it reaches the intestinal wall. You can find yourself on the right path to preventing colon cancer by getting screened and taking the following steps:
- Get screened for colon cancer starting at age 50, or younger if you have a family history. Ask your doctor about screening tests.
- Eat to live and get moving. Maintain a healthy weight by exercising and incorporating a well-balanced diet low in red and processed meats to help defeat the disease.
- No refills. More than two alcoholic drinks a day for men and one for women can increase the risk of colon cancer
- Don’t be a drag. Smoking cigarettes for a period of more than four decades can increase the risk of colon cancer by 30 to 50 percent.
Learn more about preventing colon cancer with the American Cancer Society by calling 1.800.227.2345 or at cancer.org, and see Pat Prescott tell her story at http://youtu.be/xagziYba1jY.
Keisha N. Brown