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    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | September 13th, 2015


    When I was growing up, we called it number 2. When I became a doctor, I called it a bowel movement. My children still call it poop and just the other day I was talking with my brother and he called it a dump.  I actually went on google and realized that there are over 16 names to call it.  Wow, you learn something every day.

    Why talk about poop? On Friday, September 11, 2015, I had my colonoscopy and the day before was quite an experience. It is one thing to suggest to a patient that they are due for a colonoscopy; it is another thing to have one done.  The prep was truly an experience. I went from poop with substance to just water coming out. By the end of the prep, I felt like I was urinating from my buttock.

    Why did I decide to get the colonoscopy?

    • Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in women after lung cancer and breast cancer. Black women and black men are more likely to die of colorectal cancer than any other racial group.
    • For those who are at average risk of getting colorectal cancer, screening should start at age 50 years old however this is not the case for black people. It is recommended that screening begin at age 45 years old for black people. Although there are many options for screening, the preferred option is a colonoscopy.


    Here are some reasons why black people are likely to be diagnosed with and die from colorectal cancer?

    • Blacks are half as likely as whites to get a colonoscopy screening
    • When colon cancer is found, it has usually spread to other parts of the body
    • Blacks typically experience a larger number of polyps on the right side of the colon, versus the left. A sigmoidoscopy can only see the left side; a colonoscopy can see the entire colon.


    Up to 70% of colorectal cancer can be prevented through diet and lifestyle changes.

    • Avoid red meats, processed meat, and refined carbohydrates
    • Exercise regularly
    • Maintain a healthy body weight
    • Avoid tobacco
    • Control your sugars
    • Get appropriate screening


    If you are bleeding when you have a bowel movement, it is not normal and needs to be investigated regardless of your age. If you have a strong family history of colon cancer or if you have Lynch syndrome or a history of inflammatory bowel disease, you will need your colonoscopy earlier than 45 years old. Please talk with your health care provider.

    Do not let fear stop you from getting your colonoscopy.

    Click here to learn more about my colonoscopy journey.





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