A few years ago, when I was a young and naïve newspaper reporter, thoughts of my colon or prostate rarely bubbled to the surface of conscious thought.
I suppose I could have identified their locations in an anatomy book, but really it was more of a good guess – like pointing hesitatingly at Bosnia or Turkmenistan on a globe during a geography test. You know the general region, you have an idea of their shape and size, but other than that, your knowledge of them is blessedly miniscule.
Since I began working at Martin Memorial, I’ve learned more about my prostate and colon – and other body parts – than I ever thought I needed to.
I know now that colon cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. I know that the American Cancer Society says one in six men will get prostate cancer during their lifetime. I know that screening plays a big role in both kinds of cancers – and that the thought of how those screenings usually are performed can make grown men cringe and squirm.
Why do I bring this up? Well, each week we put together a new podcast called Martin Memorial Healthcast. And the past two weeks’ topics have focused on prostate and colon cancer respectively.
I spoke with Dr. Michael Lustgarten, a urologist on staff at Martin Memorial, and Dr. Howard Maunus, a gastroenterologist also on staff at Martin Memorial, to learn more about the diseases.
If there is one thing that stood out in both of these conversations, it’s that screening is critical. Cancer often can be treated or cured, especially if it’s caught early. Last fall, a report came out that suggested the rate of cancer deaths were dropping in the U.S., in part because there was more education and awareness about colon cancer, which was leading to more people being screened for the disease.
But as Dr. Maunus pointed out in this week’s podcast, we can still do a better job. There are still too many people who don’t get checked out for any variety of reasons. That’s why working with your physician to stay on top of your health is so critically important.
Because you never know when learning about those hidden-away body parts might help save your life.
Public Information Coordinator