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Man Undergoes Surgery After Colonoscopy Detects Cancer

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Dana Saunders Sr. poses with Ronald Charles, MD

Don’t put off that colonoscopy.

Dana Saunders Sr., 61, speaks from experience. He had surgery at 58 after a colonoscopy found a tumor.

He’d had a colonoscopy before, and a few polyps were removed. He was told to return in five years, but time flew. Nine years had passed before his primary care physician found blood in Dana’s stool and advised a colonoscopy.

Dana had several risk factors for colon cancer. His mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer in her 70s. He also smoked for 20 years earlier in his life, and enjoyed his share of barbeque and fried foods. Dana also is African American, which makes his risk of colon cancer 20 percent higher than that of White Americans.

Current guidelines advise colonoscopies starting at age 45 for most adults. Anyone with parents or siblings who have had colon cancer or advanced, large polyps should start routine colonoscopies at age 40. And any abnormal symptoms, like unexplained rectal bleeding, is reason to ask your primary care physician about colon cancer screening.

“The screening is the most important preventive measure you can do,” Dana says. “You can eat right but you still have to get checked.”

Since his cancer diagnosis, Dana eliminated meat and dairy from his diet, adopting a plant-based regimen. He also exercises five to six days each week. He’s grateful his cancer only required a surgical resection with Ron Charles, MD, and he did not need chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

“I feel great, like I’m only 50 years old,” says Dana. “It’s a wake-up call.”

According to the World Health Organization, colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the world. Screening for colorectal cancer can identify pre-cancerous lesions and detect asymptomatic early-stage cancers that have a greater chance of being cured. Screening has been shown to decrease risk of dying from colorectal cancer.

Related Links

To learn more about colonoscopies and to schedule yours today, go to www.uhhospitals.org/colonoscopy.

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