Your Healthy Family: Importance of colon cancer screening - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Your Healthy Family: Importance of colon cancer screening


Dr. Robert Hoyer, Oncology Medical Director at UCHealth Memorial says when it comes to preventing colon cancer, screening is key.  Hector Quijas is a colon cancer survivor who wasn't screened but at the first sign of trouble saw his doctor.  Hector says that move likely saved his life.

"My doctor says I'm cancer free.  I want everyone to be active, listen to your body and don't be stubborn.  I know a lot of guys who say something is wrong but don't do anything about it."

Dr. Hoyer says there are clear guidelines when it comes to screenings for colon cancer.  "Everyone age 50 or above should talk to their doctor about colon cancer screening.  If some has a family history of colon cancer those individuals have a two to threefold increased risk so they should be taking with their doctor about being tested, about 10 years earlier than when that family member’s colon cancer was found.  Test that look for both polyps and colon cancers, would be a flexible sigmoidoscopy or a colonoscopy.  Those  visualize the inside of the colon using an endoscope.  Small polyps or growths of cancerous growth in the colon can be seen and removed with the endoscope.  Those polyps could turn into cancer so by removing them we can prevent colon cancer before it starts."

For many The thought of a colonoscopy is less than appealing, but Hector who was a surgical tech for 20 years knows first hand the power of anesthesia.  

“If you go in there with the fear that you are going to remember all of those things, you're not going to remember anything.  The doctor will put you to sleep, and then do what they do.  You wake up like nothing ever happened.  It's no big deal plus it will save your life, if they catch it early."

Dr Hoyer also says now there are other less invasive screening options that may be appropriate.

"There are a variety of tests that don't involve having to do a colonoscopy.  For example, the stool blood tests and the stool DNA tests are also valid screening methods."

Dr. Hoyer says there are currently 20 million Americans that should be screened for colon cancer that haven't been, and that is why it’s so important to get the word out about screening.  

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