Monday, 26 January 2009

Poo Sticks!

If you're thinking that this is a post about A.A. Milne's story about Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh's game of throwing wooden sticks on the upstream side of a bridge and seeing whose stick passes under it first, think again. It's not! We're moving in a totally different direction and adding a whole new dimension and different spelling to the phrase Pooh Sticks.

A few days ago I received a letter in the post from the NHS. Crumbs I thought, time for the dreaded mammogram or smear test. Amazing how fast they come around. Unfortunately they're both due in the next few weeks and I'm trying to psyche myself up for them. However it wasn't. It was to inform me I was about to be invited to take part in the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme and that I would shortly be receiving a package in the post.

Apparently:

  • About one in 20 people in the UK will develop bowel cancer during their lifetime.
  • It is the third most common cancer in the UK
  • It's the second leading cause of cancer deaths, with over 16,000 people dying from it each year

The idea is that the tests pick up problems in people who have no syptoms.

The package duly came and included a test kit with full graphic instructions on how to use it. I won't go into detail but suffice to say it includes 6 cardboard sticks which have to be used for samples of you can guess what, on 3 separate dates. As if once wasn't bad enough!

Then I have to send it off to be tested. Thank goodness. I thought it was a DIY kit and I might have to do that too. The letter says I'll receive the results within a week. Pretty amazing really!

If there are any problems with the results I may have to repeat the test or go for a colonoscopy. I remember Pam's posting about her "dreaded procedure" so I'm hoping I don't have to do either. However if I do hopefully it will detect any problems early.

Now what else can they test us for? The mind boggles but I have to admit at least they're trying.