WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – Colon cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer and yet, the American Cancer Society continues to list it as the third-leading cause of cancer death in the United States.
“By the time we found mine…it’s stage three. It’s in the lymph nodes, through the wall of the colon it’s gotten into my lung,” said Wichitan Matt Marin. But just talking about colon cancer and prevention is hard for many people.
“They found it on the colonoscopy. It’s down toward the end…it’s colorectal. It’s kind of uncomfortable talking about it,” said Marin.
But Marin has become comfortable talking about it. Doctors say we all should.
He was diagnosed in December and is one of the estimated 150,000 who will be diagnosed with colon cancer this year. But like other cancers, doctors who help treat and prevent it say there are great advancements happening.
“Well, I would say in the gastroenterology space, there’s been a pretty dramatic shift in the invasiveness in treatments that can be offered…or should I say the less invasiveness of treatments that are available,” said Dr. Nathan Tofteland, a gastroenterologist.
Dr. Tofteland said in his field, screening and prevention are still the biggest weapons he has. Catching signs of trouble early is key, but like everything else, the pandemic caused setbacks.
“Now we have a lot of opportunity to try to catch up with a lot of those things, one of them being colon cancer screening, we have a lot of options available,” said Dr. Tofteland.
Marin says he noticed symptoms months early but didn’t get checked soon enough.
“If I’d gone a year or two earlier you know…it would have been a matter of removing a polyp,” said Marin.
Doctors say symptoms include:
-A persistent change in your bowel habits-Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool-Persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain-Weakness or fatigue-Unexplained weight loss
They are many of the symptoms Marin experienced.
His message to you is get screened.”It’s very important…it probably saved my life. We’re hoping it did.”
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