Commercials urging people to get early colon cancer screenings have been airing for years — but what really is colon or colorectal cancer?
"A growth in the body can start as a polyp,” said Dr. Johnny Howton, Colorectal Surgeon at Baylor Scott & White at Hillcrest.
“A polyp is a warty growth, and over a span of about five to ten years, that growth can develop into a cancer.”
This is what Waco resident Revendy Rhodes
learned had happened to him when he went to his doctor last September.
”I started out with a four and a half inch tumor in the colorectal area, and there were also seven lymph nodes that were cancerous,” Rhodes said.
It wasn’t long before his doctor referred him to Texas Oncology in Waco for immediate treatment.
”Within three weeks, I was starting chemo and radiation together,” Rhodes said.
“Once we finished the round of radiation with chemo, I went to just straight chemo. Which is three different chemo drugs at one time.”
After months of chemo and radiation, Rhodes is finally ready to have the cancerous cells removed, and he got some surprising news at a recent checkup.
”Whenever I went back last month for my follow-up and pre-surgery colonoscopy, the 4.5 inch tumor was gone,” Rhodes said.
“Prayers were answered.”
Treatment is going well for Rhodes, and his surgery is right around the corner — but doctors say if cancer like his is caught early enough, treatment like chemo may be unnecessary.
”By early detection, usually by performing a colonoscopy — which is a simple procedure — you can find the polyps and remove any that you see,” Dr. Howton said.
“Thereby, preventing cancer from ever developing.”
If you are 45 or older or have a history of colon cancer in your family, it is important to schedule an appointment for a colonoscopy as soon as possible.
It may just save your life.