Always check your poop (National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month)

Always check your poop.

I know.  Gross, right?

But you can tell a lot about your health from your poop.  In fact, here's a handy dandy chart to help you decode your poop:

 

Your handy dandy poop chart!

OK, before you laugh yourself silly about a poop post, or decide this is way too crude and gross for you, just stop a minute.  Wait.  This is not joke.

Checking your poop is life and death, people.

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.  Colorectal cancer is one of the easiest cancers to treat if found early, one of the deadliest if found later, and is the third leading cause of death among men and women in the US.  And while most people who get colorectal cancer are still 50 or older (and the American Cancer Society doesn't recommend colorectal cancer screenings until one turns 50), the incidence of colorectal cancer among people under the age of 50 is rising.

Why?  We eat crappy processed food instead of whole foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins).  We don't exercise enough.  We put toxic substances into our bodies (alcohol, drugs, cigarettes).  We work too long under too much stress with too few breaks.  We poison the environment with pollution.  We put lotions and potions and cosmetics and creams on our bodies that are made from petroleum products.  And we start doing all of these things from the minute we enter this world, so the effects build up.

If you're finding this post via Facebook, then you know why this is such an issue for me, but for those of you who don't, let me tell you why I post this with such a sense of urgency:  on April 6, 2015, my brother died after an eight-month fight with colon cancer.  He was only 38 years old.

Thirty-eight, guys.  He was 38.

In the past year, I have heard of one person who is only twenty and is fighting his second round of colorectal cancer.  A family member knows of another person who is in his early 20s and is fighting his fourth round of colon cancer.

It can happen, and it is happening to people who are under the age of 50.

And this is why checking your poop is so important.  It's not bathroom humor or gross and disgusting.  It's a matter of life and death.

If you are 50 or older and have not been screened for colon cancer, get your ass to the doctor and get your screening scheduled.

At any age, if you see blood in your stool or have a red or black stool that can't be explained by ingesting certain foods or medicines (beets, antacids, heavily colored processed foods, antibiotics), you need to go to a doctor.  I can't stress this enough, ladies and gentlemen.  Blood in your poop is not a joke.  It could be hemorrhoids or a small tear in your intestine, or it could be something more urgent.  You can't know until you get screened.

And right now, there are other things you can do to get healthier and prevent colorectal cancer. Eat whole foods and avoid processed foods as much as possible.  Get at least thirty minutes of exercise each day.  Take a vacation, relax more, and remember that your health is more important than your job or money.  Change your household cleaners and toiletries to products that are environmentally friendly.  Quit the drugs, reduce the alcohol consumption, and for the love of God and all things holy, quit smoking the fucking cigarettes!!!!!!

Now everyone take a deep breath, go to the toilet, evacuate your bowels, and take a good look.  Make that a habit.  It could save your life.

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