Colon Cancer Preventable with Proper Screening

By  | 

Every year more than 150 thousand Americans are diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer, but, while a third of those diagnosed will die from the disease, doctors say it's a cancer that can be prevented.

March is Colon Cancer Awareness month, and like the rest of the country, Wisconsinites are finding colon cancer is a significant problem.
In fact, in the badger state it's the third most common in men and the second most common in women.

Still, with screening and a proper diet and nutrition plan, it's one cancer you can beat.

"If I'd known then what I know now about my health, I do have a little family history of it, and having known about my health neglect for so many years, yes I would have been checked earlier," colon cancer survivor Rolph Utegaard said.

Utegaard feels lucky, he survived his cancer but says it was a wake up call to change his lifestyle entirely. Now, he exercises more and eats better, following a low fat high fiber diet doctors say will curb all forms of cancer.

"The thing that makes screening with colonoscopy an effective tool is that its not only designed to pick up cancers at a very early and curable stage, it can actually find growths before they become cancers and their removal can prevent the cancer from ever occurring," Dr. Charles Nordstrom of Luther Midelfort said.

He says once you've hit 50, it's time to get screened. He says at that age colon polyps, growths that can become cancerous, are more common.

And the procedure itself? Dr. Nordstrom says over the years screening measures have improved remarkably.

Now, colonoscopy is done with sedation, patients say it's an easy procedure and many have no recollection of the test at all.