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Your Healthy Family: Colon cancer screenings can save lives - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Your Healthy Family: Colon cancer screenings can save lives

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Hector was not following recommended screened guidelines, but at the first sign of trouble of some blood in his stool, he saw his doctor and that visit ended up saving his life. Hector was not following recommended screened guidelines, but at the first sign of trouble of some blood in his stool, he saw his doctor and that visit ended up saving his life.

For our last men’s health awareness story of #NoShaveNovember 2017, we finish with a topic that for many people can be unpleasant to even consider. Colon cancer and and the importance of colon cancer screenings.

In April of this year, I introduced you to Hector Quijas who shared his story with me.  Hector was not following recommended screened guidelines, but at the first sign of trouble of some blood in his stool, he saw his doctor and that visit ended up saving his life.

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

Dr. Robert Hoyer, Oncology Medical Director at UCHealth Memorial says when it comes to preventing colon cancer, screening is key.  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."

There are currently 20 million Americans men and women that should be screened that haven't  been so it's important that everyone knows cancer screening can save lives.

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