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Avera Medical Minute: Don’t ignore symptoms of Colon Cancer

Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 11:03 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Jennifer Edwards said she was having some stomach discomfort along with some other symptoms at her annual physical.

“When they did my bloodwork they called me back in right away and said your hemoglobin is critically low. So we need you to come back do more bloodwork,” Jennifer said.

After there were more concerns, Jennifer was told she needed to get a colonoscopy right away. After she did that, some tough news.

“The colonoscopy revealed that I had a tumor in the right part of my Colon.” said Jennifer.

At the age of 47, with no family history, Jennifer was diagnosed with stage two colon cancer. In the past, a first colonoscopy was recommended at age 50. Now it’s 45. And it’s good that Jennifer didn’t wait.

“You know for her particular case it was actually the anemia and the bleeding that lead to it. So in a backward sort of way it was good that she had bleeding that allowed it to get caught and detected. It speaks to the importance of hopefully over the next few years as people get screened earlier and earlier instead of age 50 age 45. These things will get caught early.” said Dr. Mark Huber.

The tumor was removed with surgery and no chemotherapy was needed. Now she’s on a course to recovery.

“They removed about nine inches of my colon and I’m doing well. I will have some pretty close observations so every three months I have to go in and have blood work done. Every six months a CT scan. And then another colonoscopy annually for the next two to five years,” said Jennifer.

So don’t wait. If you’ve got symptoms. And don’t wait until you are a certain age. Colon cancer is becoming more common in younger people.

“That’s really a been a bit of a mystery researchers have been looking into it trying to identify factors. There’s a thought that maybe it’s weight-related metabolic cause.. It’s not really well characterized. Most of the young people getting it actually don’t have a family history. It’s a bit of a mystery. The thought is to get people screened earlier and catch any cancer as soon as you can.” said Dr. Huber.

“Listen to your body, pay attention to it. Don’t ignore even the slightest things. Your body is telling you something. Go to your doctor if you have any concerns. Talk to your doctor and bring up issues and let them know what’s happening,” said Jennifer.

A virtual event is coming up on June 15h called “Let’s Talk Colon Cancer”. If you would like to take part you can find more information by clicking the link below.

https://www.avera.org/classes-events/search-results-detail/?eventId=89682c7f-0f97-eb11-a842-000d3a611c21

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