Jeff Osbahr: Rewriting a Family Health History
At the age of 21, Jeff Osbahr lost his mother to colon cancer. With an increased cancer risk due to his family history, Jeff, now 48, understands the importance of following the recommended American Cancer Society cancer screening guidelines to stay well.
Jeff’s mother, Marcia Osbahr, was an active, fit 42-year-old wife and mother of two. For years she complained about abdominal pain. A routine colonoscopy, an exam of the entire colon, could have saved her life, but the technology was not common medical practice in 1985. Marcia’s cancer was inoperable by the time her cancer was diagnosed.
Today, people at average risk for colon cancer are encouraged to begin colorectal cancer screening at age 50, and then every 10 years. A colonoscopy can identify cancer and small growths called polyps, which over time, if not removed, can become cancer. Early detection helps save lives.
As recommended because of his family history, Jeff had his first colonoscopy at the age of 40 and will continue screenings every five years.
“I have a lot to live for,” says the married father of two. “I want to watch my children grow up, start families of their own, and live a long, healthy life - something my mother missed out on. The colonoscopy assures me that I’m doing all the right things.”
In memory of his mother, Jeff joined the Relay For Life of Chittenden County, VT, in 2009 as a team captain, raising more than $1,000 every year since with support from Team Footloose.
“It’s important to me to participate in the fight against cancer and share the message that cancer screening and early detection can save your life,” says Jeff. “I believe in taking proactive measures to ensure your health and not lose precious time battling something that can be stopped - before it stops you.”
Read more about what you can do to help reduce your risk of colon cancer.
PHOTO: Jeff, in yellow, is pictured here with his Relay For Life team.