среда, 29 августа 2007 г.

Colonoscopies make for most unusual birthday party

"My wife expects they'll find my head up there," Jack Merrick quipped minutes before being sedated for his colonoscopy.
But for all the good-natured humor that infused Scope Fest, the danger of colon cancer was on the minds of its participants.

Merrick spoke of a friend's co-worker who recently succumbed at age 38, and recalled that Katie Couric's husband, Jay Monahan, was only 42 when he lost his fight.

Merrick buddy Don Chiesa, 40, noted that Scope Fest came three years to the day after his father-in-law died of colon cancer, prompting his fellow patients to raise their glasses in an unusually solemn toast.

And there was this disturbing observation from Dr. Liza Capiendo: "The scary thing is, I've been finding cancer in people in their 30s with no family history (of the disease)."

White House press secretary Tony Snow, 51, announced last week that his cancer has resurfaced and spread to his liver despite having had his diseased colon removed in 2005.

The American Cancer Society predicts that about 154,000 Americans will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer this year, about 23,000 more than its 1998 projection.

More than 52,000 Americans will die of the disease, the third-leading cause of cancer deaths


in men and women. The good news is the number of fatal cases is declining, a trend researchers attribute to greater awareness of colonoscopy for both detection and prevention.
Couric's well-publicized 2000 screening on the "Today" show triggered a 19 percent increase in colonoscopy procedures.

The American Cancer Society urges all Americans to get screened for colon cancer beginning at age 50, or earlier if there is a family history of colon cancer, a personal history of cancer in the breast, lymph nodes or other glands, or any symptoms that may be cancer-related.