Being an outlier

I was looking up stats today on colon cancer, and finally understood why the doctor was so shocked after my colonoscopy. 

Seven percent of Americans are diagnosed with colon cancer at some point in their life  but the median age of diagnosis is 71, and most patients are in awhile, so this really was a flukey thing.

Moreover, I don’t seem to have any of the risk factors: Smoker, heavy drinker, obese, heavy consumer of red meat. True, I have that pesky family history — great aunt, uncle and cousin, all from the same branch of the family, have had colon cancer, and there’s also a history of colon polyps in the immediate family. Yet the pathology report from my surgery says my particular cancer is nonheriditary.

From what I can tell from my Internet meanderings, my cancer would be classified as Stage IIA, and it appears that chemo usually isn’t recommended.  But my youth, at least in relative colon-cancer terms, is likely to alter that recommendation, I’m told.

I’m anxious to talk to an oncologist about all this. But I got a call today that my oncology appointment for Monday got canceled because of a medical emergency involving the doctor, who’s out for the next two weeks.  That’s turned her December schedule into a train wreck, and now I have a dilemma. Do I wait for a month or so for another appointment? Or go to Ann Arbor? There’s no real urgency here from a physical health standpoint but from a mental-health standpoint, I’ve got lots of questions I’d like answered.

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