December 05, 2005

I'M HOME FROM HAVING A COLONOSCOPY -- everything went fine, but I think I'll let the drugs leave my system for a while longer before doing any serious blogging. In the meantime, you might want to check out Cato's new blog, Cato Unbound, and also this interesting post on India's increasing engagement with the Anglosphere. And if you're still bored, you can cast your votes for best blog in the Wizbang Weblog Awards.

UPDATE: Better now. A few people were offended that I even mentioned the word "colonoscopy," while others wondered why I didn't live-blog it a la Katie Couric. The latter is a bit much, and would have required me to forego the drugs; the former is just silly.

A colonoscopy isn't just a diagnostic test -- if they find polyps, they can remove them, making it virtually certain that you won't get colon cancer. If you skip that because of squeamishness, well, you're just an idiot. Luckily, I was clean and don't have to go back for five years. By then, they may have replaced them with swallowable cameras, with actual scoping only when there's something that needs fixing. At any rate, though, there aren't many simple safe procedures that can absolutely prevent cancer, and this is one. Don't forego it because you're squeamish.

ANOTHER UPDATE: I'm blaming the drugs for this error, which Dave Johnston emails me to correct:

Cato Unbound is not Cato's blog, which is forthcoming later this month. Unbound is a online magazine-type project by Brink Lindsey and Will Wilkinson. It will feature monthly issues and discussions, with work submitted by scholars in various areas depending on that month's topic. It is set up to look a bit like a blog (I've installed WordPress for Will and Brink to use as a content management system).

I point this out because there has been significant internal wrangling here at Cato to make sure that the two projects are not confused.

The blog will be very free-flowing with no set topics or, well...a blog.

Certainly this one!

MORE: Oncologist reader David McCune emails:

Before you exit your Katie Couric mode, I was hoping you would do one last public service announcement. You reach a wide audience, and it wouldn’t hurt to get the word out as to the current screening guidelines for colorectal cancer.

Colon cancer screening with either colonoscopy (a flexible tube that allows a doctor to visual the entire colon) or flexible sigmoidoscopy (a shorter scope) is recommended for men and women beginning at age 50. If the person has a family history of either cancer or pre-cancerous polyps, then screening should start at 40 or 10 years younger than the earliest age at which cancer was diagnosed in the family, whichever is earlier. Although the two tests are considered equivalent, I personally recommend the colonoscopy. The sigmoidoscopy has too high of a chance of missing cancers that occur beyond the reach of the shorter scope. The colonoscopy does have its own drawbacks, though, including a higher risk of serious complications and the need for sedation. Here are the recommendations from the American Cancer Society, and here are the ones from the National Cancer Institute.

I’m an oncologist, so I end up seeing the people who eventually get advanced cancer. The percentage of people who have not had the recommended colon screening is much higher than the percentage who have neglected to have mammography (probably because of the “ick factor” of talking about the colon), even though the reduction in cancer death is even more impressive than that seen with mammogram screening for breast cancer. Thanks for getting the word out.

You'd feel pretty stupid, wouldn't you? And yes, I started early because of family history issues.