Do you remember being back in school and feeling self conscious about changing in front of other people for the first time? My gym teacher tapped into this pretty quickly, giving out a terse piece of advice I’ve never forgotten: “We all have the same plumbing, people! Now let’s get on with it.” Funny that decades later, those words would apply perfectly for overcoming a different kind of (middle-aged) embarrassment.
When it comes to getting checked for colorectal cancer, many people just don’t want to go there. Right now, not even a third of Ontarians are taking advantage of potentially life-saving screening tools. “I think this is terrible because we have the opportunity potentially to eradicate an entire killer disease process by catching it early,” says surgeon Dr. Shady Ashamalla. “It really is about getting patients to understand the value of screening and why it’s so important.”
Having gone through this myself, I get the embarrassment and hesitation holding some back. Screening won’t be the best experience of your life, but may actually help prolong it. That in itself makes it all worthwhile.
Start with a chat with your family doctor, or check out Cancer Care Ontario’s website for more information. And remember, we all have the same plumbing people! So let’s get on with it.
Learn more about colorectal cancer care at Sunnybrook’s Odette Cancer Centre