Friday, April 30, 2010

The Up Side of Jello

At age 50 your life changes. It’s more than menopause. You suddenly begin to take some things more seriously. Certainly you start to pay more attention to your health.

Among the recommended screening tests, the American Cancer Society and doctors prescribe colonoscopies. No wonder. Colon cancer is among the most common types of cancer; but, when detected early, colon cancer has high cure rates. It’s on my mind since my colonoscopy is scheduled this week.

Many people ignore this diagnostic test. They are more concerned about the “prep” rather than the procedure itself. Don’t let this dissuade you. There’s nothing wrong with a little jello and some clear liquids for 24 hours. The prep may be inconvenient, but the outcome can be lifesaving.

Johns Hopkins has a long history of ground breaking discoveries targeting colon cancer. Kimmel Cancer Center researchers were the first to isolate a series of mistakes in human DNA, called genetic mutations, that lead to the development and progression of colon and rectum cancer. These findings have already been used to develop screening blood tests for people with a family history of certain types of hereditary colon and rectum cancers. Subsequent work has led to the development of stool tests for non-hereditary colon cancer. Hopkins scientists also were the first to decode the colon cancer genome. Several new anticancer agents are being studied for their ability to interfere with the genetic alterations and stop the initiation of cancer. As genetic causes continue to be uncovered, Hopkins researchers expect to improve broad-based screening tests to detect colon and rectum cancer in its earliest and most treatable stages. More information is available at

So, my advice is simple. Schedule your colonoscopy and get some jello.


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