This may be an embarrassing topic to discuss, but it is extremely vital that the word gets out there. And, one of main things that needs to be done is to remove the "stigma" of talking about it in the first place. Being too embarrassed to discuss it can be deadly.
March has been declared National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Most of the credit for starting this goes to Katie Couric, whose own husband died of this disease just 2 years ago. Since, then, she's been a very outspoken person who is determined to increase public knowledge, awareness, and funding.
Colorectal cancer, although rarely mentioned "in polite society", is the second leading cause of cancer deaths. Yet, it's also one of the most preventable ones. Colon cancer strikes 130,000 Americans every year and kills 55,000 of them (1 in 4 of whom are under the age of 50). When caught in its earliest stages, more than 90 percent of the cases can be cured.
The American Cancer Society recommends that everyone over the age of 50 have a yearly fecal occult blood test plus other screening tests every 5 - 10 years.
For more information, you can see these websites:
http://www.nccra.org/ (Couric's charity - the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance. Also has info on the disease and its treatments.)
http://www.preventcancer.org/colorectal.htm (Explains the monthlong awareness campaign)
http://www3.cancer.org/cancerinfo/load_cont.asp?ct10 (Colon cancer info page from the ACS)
http://www.cancernet.nci.nih.gov/ (Click on "Types of cancer," then colon for the NIH's info page with other useful links)
http://www.cancereducation.com (Click on "Colorectal cancer" under "Patient and Family Center" - can be personalized by the user)
http://www.acor.org/ (Association of Cancer Online Resources - a nonprofit site)
[This message has been edited by Linda1 (edited 03-16-2000).]