Friday, April 8, 2011
Medical Reports: Colon Cancer Concern
Colon cancer is preventable if you get regular screenings. Now, doctors are urging certain people to get screened much earlier. 7's Diana Diaz reveals this "Colon Cancer Concern."
WSVN -- Stephanie Harris knew something wasn't right for almost a year but was afraid to see a doctor until it was almost too late.
Stephanie Harris, Had Colon Cancer: "He said that it was cancer and it was large, about the size of, I think it was of a grapefruit."
She had colon cancer and needed surgery right away.
Stephanie Harris: "I got in the car, and I cried, because I said I could have died."
What Stephanie didn't know was that she's at a higher risk of developing this disease.
Dr. Gary Luckman, Gastroenterologist: "African Americans have an earlier onset of colon cancer risk."
While most Americans are urged to get their first screening colonoscopy at age 50, Dr. Gary Luckman says the recommendations changed for one group.
Dr. Gary Luckman: "We're starting to screen African Americans at age 45."
Dr. Luckman says we don't know why, but colon tumors in African Americans tend to be more aggressive, they usually occur on the right side of the colon, and they tend to be flat, making them more difficult to see.
Dr. Gary Luckman: "Colon cancer in African Americans is unfortunately a little more difficult to diagnose because of these things."
Dr. Luckman says if doctors do early screenings, they can find polyps in the colon and remove them before they ever become cancer.
Dr. Gary Luckman: "When someone comes to me and they have far advanced colon cancer because they never went for their colonoscopy screening, it's a real tragedy."
Stephanie is truly one of the lucky ones. She is now cancer free and gets a colonoscopy every two years.
Stephanie Harris: "I want to be around. I want to live to see my grandson get to be 30, 40 years old."
Diana Diaz: "Dr. Luckman says a healthy diet low in fats and processed foods can also help reduce your risk."
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