June is recognized as Men's Health Month. Each year, organizations everywhere—as well as friends and families—urge men across the country to be more proactive with their health. Colorectal Cancer Alliance member Deondre Williams is just one of many, speaking up and speaking out in an effort to get more men to take their health serious.
Although one in 24 Americans will get colorectal cancer, also referred to as colon cancer, Black Americans get colon cancer about 20% more often than white Americans, and are 35% more likely to die from it. But thankfully, colon cancer is "the preventable cancer."
In 2017, after a regular workday, Williams noticed blood in his stool. Like most, he picked up his phone to consult Google, under the impression that whatever the issue was, "he could toughen it out."
"My initial thought was curiosity, which led me to doing my own Google search on what blood in the stool meant. I decided to wait because I diagnosed myself with hemorrhoids and I didn't feel the need to see a doctor about it," shares the colorectal cancer survivor. "I thought I'd handle it myself."
Before his diagnosis, life for him was pretty normal. He was very active doing things like coaching youth football, going to the gym regularly, and pretty much anything that kept him active. So, for him, there was no reason to suspect anything serious when he began experiencing bloody stools.
As we move through Men's Health Month, Williams is urging other men, Black men especially, not to wait. If you feel as though something is off with your health, go get checked.
"Don't wait," he says. "Give yourself a fighting chance by getting yourself checked regularly. Men, we must stop allowing pride and ego to interfere with getting our health checked. If you see a problem, don't ignore it because it can only get worse."
For more information on risk factors, symptoms and screening options, the Colorectal Cancer Alliance has a helpful tool at quiz.getscreened.org.