This past week I had been nervously waiting for a screen colonoscopy on Friday morning. In a recent health check I mentioned to the doctor that my Dad was diagnosed with bowel cancer (which he has thankfully fully recovered). The doctor decided that due to my age (56) and family history that I should get my own bowel checked out - hence a visit to St Vincent's Hospital for a colonoscopy. Even though I had no symptoms warning of colon cancer, I still was fearful of what might be found - the very mention of the word "cancer" is terrifying.
People warned me that the cleansing of the bowel with Movi-Prep the day before would be worse than the actual treatment itself. Movi-Prep does exactly what it says on the tin - and the advice to stay close to a toilet is definitely to be heeded. In the hospital there was quite a bit of waiting, but the whole experience was straight-forward. Apart from a brief slight discomfort, I didn't feel a thing. Probably my dignity suffered most with a tube and camera up my ass with an audience looking on. I could see the whole thing on TV - interesting to say the least!
Afterwards the doctor came and told me that all was clear but that he had removed one polyp which he was sending off to see if it was cancerous - even saying that to me was scary. A polyp might turn into a cancer in time, and it was best to get it checked.
A lesson here is that we all need to take our health seriously. Like a lot of men I am not a regular visitor to the doctor and up to now have not really been worried about my health. There are many screens available to us and we should use them. Former Enterprise Ireland chairman Hugh Cooney has bravely spoken publicly about his cancer and how he ignored the warning signs until it was too late - his message to men: "don't be stupid, because we are too complacent about our health. My message is avoid cancer if you can, and how do you avoid it". The Irish Cancer Society have published the video below about early warning signs that should not be ignored: