March is colorectal cancer awareness month - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

March is colorectal cancer awareness month

March 25, 2004

Valdosta - It's the second most deadly cancer among adults in America, but if detected early, colon cancer is a highly curable disease. March is colorectal cancer awareness month, and doctors want you to start getting checked.

Today, Melvyn Rowan lives a normal, active life. "I feel great, have a lot of energy, sell insurance full time here in Adel," said Rowan.

But six years ago, he was fighting a hard battle with colorectal cancer. "I had to have surgery, the chemo was very physically and emotionally draining, and it was a daily struggle," said Rowan.

Melvyn's doctor caught the disease during a routine checkup. The cancer had already spread through his colon, but one thing could have prevented that. "If you have a colonoscopy every 10 years, you probably decrease your chance of having colorectal cancer by 90 percent," said Dr. Scott Farquhar.

The key to preventing this cancer is locating colon polyps early in the game. "If you find the polyps, which are the pre cancerous condition, these patients can have a normal life span," said Farqurah.

We sat in on a colonoscopy to see just how it works. Using a scope, doctors get an up close look at what's inside your colon. If they find polyps, in just minutes, the doctor can remove it and prevent cancer from forming inside the patient's colon.

It's stereotyped as an invasive and uncomfortable procedure, but patients like Melvyn say its painless and well worth the time. "It would have saved me from surgery and chemotherapy," said Rowan.

Now Melvyn has a colonoscopy every year, hoping to continue living his life cancer free.

posted at 2:15 P.M. by ashley.harper@walb.com

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